Northwest Health offers new treatment for chronic heartburn

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Health & Wellness

Published on July 03, 2021 with No Comments

Dr. Adam Conn

Over twenty million Americans suffer with daily heartburn or other symptoms of gastro reflux, such as regurgitation, chronic cough, hoarseness and dental erosions. Until recently, these people faced either a lifetime of daily medications, and often incomplete resolution of their symptoms, or the risks of invasive surgery. 

Now patients have another option – the transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF) procedure.  Northwest Health is one of the only hospital systems in Northern Indiana offering the incisionless TIF procedure. It is performed by general surgeons Dr. Adam Conn and Dr. Blake Hood at Northwest Health – LaPorte.  

The TIF procedure is based on established principles of surgical repair of the anti-reflux barrier, except that it is “surgery from within” performed through the mouth with an endoscope—the same equipment used to diagnose gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The procedure reduces hiatal hernias and rebuilds the valve between the stomach and esophagus restoring the natural, physiological anatomy to prevent GERD. Because the procedure is incisionless, there is usually reduced pain, faster recovery and no visible scar. 

Dr. Blake Hood

With millions of Americans diagnosed with GERD, this procedure offers an alternative that is covered by many insurance plans.  

“The TIF procedure can significantly improve quality of life for our patients,” said Dr. Conn. “GERD is an anatomical problem which needs an anatomical solution. Reflux medication like proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) can help relieve patients’ heartburn symptoms but don’t solve the underlying problems or prevent further disease progression. Even on PPIs many patients are still unable to eat the foods they want or are forced to sleep sitting up to reduce nighttime reflux. 

“In addition, recent studies have shown that long term use of PPIs can lead to inadequate absorption of minerals such as calcium and can result in bone fractures. After the TIF procedure, clinical trials show that most patients can eat and drink foods they avoided for many years. Reflux no longer impacts their life like it previously did,” the doctor continued

 “GERD is a common disease that impacts one in five adults and can be complex to fully diagnose,” said Ashley Dickinson, CEO for Northwest Health.  “Northwest Health has decided to address this disease more fully by offering the TIF procedure.” 

To find out if you are a candidate for this procedure, contact Northwest Medical Group at 219-379-3166.

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