Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) affects millions of people worldwide, causing uncomfortable symptoms such as heartburn, regurgitation, and chest pain. While lifestyle changes and medication are often the first line of defense against GERD, some individuals may require additional interventions to manage their symptoms effectively. One such solution is the Stretta procedure, a minimally invasive treatment option that offers long-lasting relief from GERD.
The Stretta procedure involves the use of radiofrequency energy to strengthen and improve the function of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle that separates the stomach from the esophagus. By targeting and rejuvenating the LES, Stretta helps reduce acid reflux and its associated symptoms, allowing individuals to regain control of their lives and enjoy improved quality of life.
Benefits of the Stretta Procedure
The Stretta procedure offers several key benefits for individuals suffering from GERD. These include:
- Long-lasting relief: Stretta provides significant and sustainable symptom improvement for up to 10 years, reducing the need for ongoing medication use.
- Minimally invasive: Unlike traditional surgical interventions, Stretta is a minimally invasive procedure that can be performed on an outpatient basis, resulting in shorter hospital stays and faster recovery times.
- No incisions or scarring: Stretta involves the use of an endoscope, a flexible tube with a light and camera, which is inserted through the mouth into the esophagus. This means there are no external incisions or visible scarring.
- No alteration of anatomy: Unlike some surgical procedures for GERD, Stretta does not alter the anatomy of the digestive system, preserving its natural functionality.
- Improved quality of life: By reducing the frequency and severity of GERD symptoms, Stretta helps individuals regain their ability to enjoy daily activities, eat comfortably, and sleep better.
The Stretta Procedure: How It Works
The Stretta procedure involves several key steps:
- Preparation: Before the procedure, patients are typically instructed to refrain from eating or drinking for a certain period of time. Anesthesia may also be administered to ensure comfort during the procedure.
- Insertion of the endoscope: A thin, flexible endoscope is gently inserted through the mouth and advanced into the esophagus. The endoscope allows the surgeon to visualize the treatment area and perform the procedure while minimizing discomfort for the patient. The endoscope is equipped with a special device at its tip that delivers controlled radiofrequency energy.
- Treatment of the LES: Once the endoscope is properly positioned, the surgeon delivers radiofrequency energy to targeted areas of the LES. This energy stimulates the production of collagen, a protein that helps strengthen and tighten the muscle fibers of the LES.
- Monitoring and adjustment: Throughout the procedure, the surgeon carefully monitors the temperature and energy levels to ensure safety and optimal results. Adjustments may be made to ensure proper energy delivery to the treatment areas.
- Completion and removal: Once the treatment is complete, the endoscope is gently withdrawn from the esophagus. The procedure typically takes around 60 minutes to perform.
The Stretta procedure offers a minimally invasive and effective treatment option for individuals suffering from GERD. By strengthening the lower esophageal sphincter using radiofrequency energy, Stretta provides long-lasting relief from symptoms, reduces the need for medication, and improves overall quality of life. With its minimal risks, shorter recovery times, and significant symptom improvement, Stretta has emerged as a valuable alternative to traditional surgical interventions for GERD. If you are experiencing persistent GERD symptoms, consult with a qualified healthcare professional to determine if the Stretta procedure is right for you.