St. Dominic's offers incisionless surgery to treat acid reflux

Mississippians suffering from severe, chronic heartburn or acid reflux that does not respond to medication can now take advantage of a new surgical treatment option at St. Dominic Hospital. EsophyX, which does not require any incisions, is the latest treatment for safely and effectively treating chronic gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Patrick Scanlon, MD, a surgeon with Lakeland Surgical Clinic located at St. Dominic's, was the first specialist in the area to be trained to perform the procedure. Dr. Scanlon received training from world-renowned surgeon Dr. Karl LeBlanc of Baton Rouge, LA, and began performing the procedure in March, 2010.

"Science is behind the EsophyX procedure, which is performed safely and quickly, with no incisions and with minimal downtime for the patient," Dr. Scanlon said. "While under anesthesia, the flexible EsophyX device is lowered through the mouth into the stomach under the visualization of an endoscope placed down the shaft of the device. Once inside the stomach, I am able to manipulate the device to create a tight sealing valve and hold it in place with suture-like fasteners." The procedure typically takes less than one hour and requires an overnight stay at the hospital, Dr. Scanlon said. Two year clinical study results show following the procedure, 97% of patients have completely stopped taking heartburn medications.

"Following the procedure, it has been shown reflux no longer impacts patients' lives like it previously did. In a recent case with one of my patient, she was able to return home after an overnight stay in the hospital, experienced no side effects and is doing great without medication for the first time in many years."

Scanlon said in addition to dietary controls, medications may help prevent the acceleration of GERD in some patients. Over time, these medications may lose their effectiveness requiring increased dosage, increasing cost and the risk of long term side effects. The advent of the EsophyX procedure now offers a long-lasting, minutely invasive surgical solution for the treatment of GERD.

Scanlon said most patients can return to work the next day or within a few days following their EsophyX procedure. Patients will likely experience some manageable discomfort in their chest, nose, throat and stomach for the first few days to a week. Patients will be asked to restrict physical activity for the first week and will be given dietary guidelines to help maximize their success while the antireflux valve heals.

The EsophyX procedure is considered to be safer than traditional surgery which often involves incisions in the skin for access to the organs, and cutting around the organs to free the desired area for suturing. With EsophyX, there are no incisions inside on the organs or outside on the skin.

For more information about the EsophyX procedure at St. Dominic's, contact Dr. Scanlon by calling Lakeland Surgical Clinic at 601-982-3202.