Gastroesophageal reflux disease is characterized by the re-regurgitation of food from the stomach back into the esophagus. Endoscopic management of this condition involves placement of an endoscope through the mouth to alter the structure of the gastroesophageal junction to allow normal swallowing and digestion.
Endoscopic treatment is indicated in GERD patients whose symptoms cannot be controlled with medications, those who do not want to be on anti-reflux medications throughout their life, and those who do not wish to or cannot undergo interventional surgery.
For the procedure, you will be sedated and given medicine to make your throat numb. A device will be used to keep your mouth open. The endoscope (a thin tube) will be passed through your mouth down to the gastroesophageal junction. The muscles in this region are then repaired either by stitching or sewing, using thermal radiofrequency energy to alter the muscles or injecting an inert material into the muscles. The procedure is usually completed in about 1 hour.
Endoscopy is a safe procedure with a very minimal risk of bleeding, infection, and tearing of the gastrointestinal tract. It is a minimally invasive procedure which can be performed on an outpatient basis. However, as you will be sedated for the procedure, you will need to arrange for someone to drive you home.