STRETTA Treatment for Reflux (GERD)

Stretta Procedure

What is Stretta Treatment?

Stretta treatment is a non-surgical method that uses radiofrequency energy to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), sometimes called acid reflux. The lower oesophageal sphincter (LES) is a ring of muscle fibres that surrounds the lowermost end of the oesophagus where it joins the stomach. When closed, the LES prevents acid and stomach contents from travelling back up into your windpipe. In patients with GERD, a weak or relaxed LES allows this back flow, causing heartburn or acid indigestion. Stretta treatment strengthens the muscles around the LES to prevent backflow.

Indications

Stretta treatment is indicated for reflux or GERD that does not respond to medications, and for those patients unable to undergo surgery.

Preparation

Talk to your doctor about the medicines you are taking and those you should stop taking prior to the procedure. Inform your doctor if you are allergic to any medicines or anaesthesia. You may be advised to stop eating at least 6-8 hours before the procedure except for liquids. Arrange for someone to drive you home on the day of the procedure. Any special instruction will be provided by your doctor.

Procedure

The procedure lasts for about 60 minutes and involves the following steps:

  • You are given anaesthesia to make you feel relaxed, but you will remain awake (conscious sedation).
  • An endoscope is inserted into your mouth and advanced towards the oesophagus. The endoscope is a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny video camera and light at the end. Images from the camera are transmitted to a large monitor for your physician to view the LES.
  • The Stretta device is used to deliver mild radio waves to the LES. Some amount of water may be used to prevent heat injury to the surrounding tissues.
  • The tube is removed and you are discharged on the same day.

Recovery

Your doctor will prescribe medications as needed to manage the pain and healing of your oesophagus.

Risks and Complications

Risks and complications are rare but can involve the following:

  • Gas and Bloating
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Irritation of the oesophagus
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Perforation (hole) in the oesophagus

Advantages

The advantages of Stretta include:

  • Safe procedure
  • Same day discharge
  • Quick recovery
  • No need for GERD medications
  • Reduces GERD symptoms for about 10 years

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