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Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital now offers “incisionless” surgery for chronic heartburn and reflux


THE WOODLANDS, Texas  – Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital is the only hospital in Montgomery County with physicians specially trained to perform an innovative procedure to correct chronic heartburn in patients that suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), without the use of incisions.

Tens of millions of Americans suffer from daily heartburn or other symptoms of reflux such as regurgitation, chronic cough, hoarseness and dental erosions.

Until recently, chronic GERD sufferers faced a lifetime of daily medications and often incomplete resolution of their symptoms.

An alternative to invasive surgery is the TIF procedure (Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication), which uses an innovative device to access the esophagus through the mouth and requires no incisions.

Using the device, surgeons can reconstruct the antireflux valve thereby restoring the body’s natural protection against reflux.

“The TIF procedure can significantly improve quality of life for our patients,” said Dr. Drew Howard, a bariatric and general surgeon with Memorial Hermann The Woodlands. “Because the procedure is minimally invasive and incisionless, patients experience reduced pain, faster recovery and no visible scarring.”

Reflux medication, like proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), can temporarily help relieve patients' heartburn symptoms, but they don't solve the underlying anatomical problems completely or prevent further disease progression.

Even among patients who regularly take PPIs, many still face a restricted diet or have to sleep sitting up to reduce nighttime reflux.

Recent studies have shown that long-term use of PPIs might lead to an increased risk of dementia and an inadequate absorption of minerals such as calcium, which can result in bone fractures over time.

In recent studies, TIF patients reported 80 percent improvement in quality of life, significantly improved satisfaction, and reduction/elimination of heartburn symptoms.

“Research shows that after undergoing the TIF procedure, reflux no longer impacts patients’ lives negatively like it previously did,” said Dr. Howard.

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