How successful is TIF surgery for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?

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Dr. Michael B. Ujiki, MD
Bariatric Medicine (Obesity Medicine) Specialist

The TIF (Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication) procedure at two years has been shown to resolve heartburn in more than 90 percent of patients. It also results in complete cure of reflux in 70 percent to 80 percent of patients being off of antacids. The nice thing about this procedure is that it is incisionless, so very little pain is experienced. In addition, people can get back to their normal everyday activities and work, almost right away—within a day or two. Most importantly, it is a very safe procedure.

The surgery for treating gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is known as fundoplication. In this procedure, a hiatal hernia, if present, is eliminated and part of the stomach is wrapped around the lower end of the esophagus to strengthen the barrier between the esophagus and the stomach. The operation is typically done via a laparoscope, an instrument that avoids a full incision of the stomach. Due to the complexity of this surgery, it is important to seek a skilled surgeon who has experience in performing this procedure and can discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure.

Unlike laparoscopic and standard surgeries, transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF) is performed through the mouth with no abdominal incision. Surgeons use an endoscope to rebuild the esophageal-stomach valve restoring the body’s natural anatomy to prevent GERD. It improves symptoms more effectively than medications, and since there is no incision, the less invasive procedure results in no scarring, minimal discomfort and quick recovery. Seventy to 80 percent of TIF patients stop taking GERD drugs.

Following the transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF) procedure to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)  people stay in the hospital overnight. They will be on a liquid diet, mostly clear liquids but some juices that aren't clear for 7-10 days, followed by a further 2-3 weeks on soft foods, depending on how their swallowing comes back, but generally two weeks is adequate.

The majority of people experience complete relief of their symptoms. About 80 percent no longer have to take proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) and are very able to life flat, sleep flat, sleep through the night without symptoms and without having to wake up.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.