Acid Reflux affects 40 percent of Americans. Dr. Paul Kanakaraj is a general surgeon at Rifle Medical Center. He says many people experience the pain in their chest, "Patients usual come into the doctors telling them they have heart burn."
And for many of them its something that doesn't just go away. Acid Reflux happens when the esophagus separates from the stomach allowing acid to flow back into the esophagus. Kanakaraj says extensive surgery was typically the only way to treat the problem, until now.
Keven Skruch with Endogastric Solutions says their new equipment called the “EsophiX” is fairly new in the United States. “EsophyX has been available for three years, a year and a half in the states 3 years in Europe," says, Skruch.
“EsophiX,” gives doctors the option to do the surgery down the throat instead of the through the stomach. Kanakaraj says, "The patients that I've done are happy with the procedure."
Previous procedures could leave a scar 10 to 12 inches long down the chest or five smaller ones around the stomach. This procedure leaves no scars and you are out of the hospital within a day.
Kanakaraj says, "Patients do well post op because they do not have any pain." There have been just over two thousand of these procedures done in the U.S.
"Its not very widespread at all, in fact Grand River Medical Center is the first facility on the Western Slope to implement this exciting technology," says, Skruch.
Kanakaraj says, this is a great option for Acid Reflux sufferers who don't want major surgery,
especially if they are currently taking medication. Kanakaraj says, "There are some studies that have shown that are, there is a five times higher incident of hip fractures if you are on PPI's for any extended period of time."
Another benefit says Kanakaraj is that patients recover faster. "They are back to their routine in 3 to 7 days." says, Kanakaraj.
Not all acid reflux sufferers are eligible for this surgery, but doctors say in about 79 percent of cases patients are completely cured and off medication at two years.