Surgery With No Incisions

Procedures for GERD and weight loss are less invasive than ever, requiring no surgical incisions.

Chances are, you are familiar with gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD, or you may even be one of the seven million Americans who suffer from chronic heartburn. You are also likely aware that surgery is an effective option to treat weight loss in patients who need to lose significant amounts of weight. But did you know that doctors can now treat both conditions with simple outpatient procedures through the mouth, with no incisions?

Treatment for GERD

GERD is a chronic disorder in which acidic stomach contents reflux, or flow back, into the esophagus because the lower esophageal sphincter, the muscle that closes the opening between the esophagus and the stomach, doesn’t function properly. Surgical therapy is available for those who do not respond to lifestyle and medical therapy or who do not wish to remain on medications.

During the new procedure (called endoscopic fundoplication) an endoscopic device and camera are inserted through the mouth and advanced through the esophagus into the stomach. The stomach is attached to the side of the esophagus in order to create a more effective barrier to reflux. The procedure is performed entirely through the mouth without making any external or internal incisions.

Weight Loss

Using the same approach through the mouth, doctors at the Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery now perform endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty for select patients who need to lose weight but do not qualify for or want weight loss surgery. During this outpatient procedure, a flexible endoscope is placed through the mouth and into the stomach. Instruments on the tip of the endoscope are used to suture the walls of the stomach together from the inside, with no incisions, to decrease the size of the stomach. Patients experience minimal pain and return home the same day. With a smaller stomach, patients feel full sooner and lose weight without feeling as hungry as when they were dieting.

Candidates for the endoscopic weight loss procedure include patients between ages 18 – 60 who have a BMI above 28 and who do not have high risk of complications from anesthesia.

"The endoscopic approach to obesity and GERD surgery represents the next step in the progression of surgical options. The shift from open surgery to laparoscopic surgery was a huge advance during the 1990's, and the trend toward incisionless surgery represents the next major revolution in surgical care. Though the incisionless procedures for GERD and weight loss may be less effective or permanent than the surgical approaches, they offer patients an even faster recovery and potentially fewer complications than the laparoscopic approach. We are very pleased to be able to offer patients these even less invasive options."

To learn more about these and other surgical advances in the Department of Surgery, please visit: columbiasurgery.org

Add comment