Minimally invasive techniques ease the surgical experience for patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Barrett’s disease and esophageal cancer.
Persistent Reflux Disease (GERD)
In a healthy patient, there is a natural valve between the esophagus and the stomach that prevents stomach fluids from backwashing, or “refluxing,” up the esophagus. In a patient with chronic GERD, this valve is dysfunctional.
Surgical Treatment for GERD
To stop the refluxing, surgeons perform laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication, a minimally invasive procedure that wraps the upper part of the stomach, called the fundus, around the esophagus. Surgeons achieve excellent outcomes with this procedure and most patients are discharged within 24 to 48 hours.
Barrett’s disease, also called Barrett’s esophagus, is a precancerous condition that can lead to esophageal cancer. It affects the lining of the esophagus – the swallowing tube that carries food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach. It can be caused by GERD.
Surgical Treatment for Barrett’s Disease
To correct Barrett’s disease, endoscopists use technology called the HALO360® system to remove affected tissue in the lower part of the esophagus. Removal of the Barrett's tissue is a short, well-tolerated endoscopic procedure with consistent and effective results.
Purpose of Procedure
The HALO360® system uses radio frequency ablation to get rid of the first layer of cells in Barrett’s esophagus which may progress to esophageal cancer if left untreated. Low heat is applied to the affected area. The cells shed, similar to skin peeling after sunburn. New healthy cells replace the Barrett’s cells within the next few weeks and remain healthy as long as the acid reflux is under control.
Diagnosis & Treatment of Esophageal Cancer
Diagnosis Using Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)
Physicians combine endoscopy and ultrasound imaging technology to obtain high-quality images of the digestive tract and its adjacent structures. EUS is primarily used to detect suspected cancers and provide a more efficient staging of cancers than possible with other technology.
Endoscopic Ultrasound-Guided Fine Needle Aspiration
This procedure gathers cells for analysis to detect abnormalities such as cancer. Under EUS guidance, a thin needle is advanced into organs or structures and the aspirate is studied. It requires the talents of a well-trained and skilled gastroenterologist. Sacred Heart has the only physicians in the region that perform this advanced technique.
When esophageal cancer is contained in the esophagus and has not spread, surgery to remove the cancer is the treatment of choice.
Minimally Invasive Esophagectomy
An esophagectomy is a surgical procedure to remove part of, or the entire esophagus, the tube that moves food from the throat to the stomach. After it is removed, the esophagus is rebuilt from part of the stomach or large intestine.
Laparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgical technique, is one way to do this surgery. A laparoscope is a tiny camera that is inserted into the belly through a small surgical cut.
General benefits to the patient include:
- Less post-operative pain
- Less blood loss
- Faster recovery
- Fewer complications
- Better cosmetic results