Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, GERD or Reflux, is a very common disease of the digestive system. It is caused by a weak lower esophageal sphincter, or LES. The LES is a ring of muscle that connects the esophagus to the stomach. It acts as a gatekeeper, opening to allow food to pass into the stomach and then closing to prevent the contents of the stomach (food, acid, and other secretions) from back flowing, or refluxing, into the esophagus. Because the lining of the esophagus is easily irritated by the contents of the stomach, acid reflux can cause heartburn, chest pain, regurgitation, sore throat and coughing.
It is estimated that 1 in 5 U.S. adults suffer with GERD and about 40% continue to have symptoms while taking medications.
If you have GERD, the first steps in resolving the symptoms are dietary modifications and acid reducing medications called proton pump inhibitors. If symptoms do not improve surgical intervention may be necessary. Laparoscopic hiatal hernia repair with the Nissen fundoplication is the gold standard surgical treatment for GERD. This minimally invasive procedure is performed to restore the function of the lower esophageal sphincter and prevent reflux. This is performed by making small incisions to access the abdomen, followed by using specialized instruments to close and tighten the opening surrounding the esophagus (Hiatal Hernia Repair) and wrap a portion of the stomach around the lower esophagus (Nissen Fundoplication). This minimally invasive technique allows for less pain, earlier ambulation, and a decreased risk of wound infection. After surgery, patients are able to stop acid reducing medications and begin enjoying meals without reflux.
Insurance approval for bariatric surgery can be a difficult maze to maneuver. Our practice has 7 Patient Advocates who focus on obtaining insurance approval for patients. They will verify your insurance and walk you through any required prerequisites prior to surgery. When you call our office you will be introduced to your Patient Advocate who will work with you until the time you are scheduled for surgery.
If your insurance does not cover bariatric surgery, your Patient Advocate will discuss our cash pay prices and financing options.
Dr. Leithead accepts all insurances, including Medicare.
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