At Methodist Hospital Specialty and Transplant, our board-certified gastroenterologists and surgeons specialize in treating patients with chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Our Heartburn and Reflux Program uses robotic technology to perform gastrointestinal (GI) surgery. We also offer several procedures for reflux management, including minimally invasive, laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery, to help our patients live more comfortably.
If you have heartburn, nausea and other symptoms of GERD or acid reflux, contact us today at (210) 575-3589.
GERD symptoms and diagnostics
GERD is a condition that results in acid reflux and heartburn when stomach acid is not properly contained in the stomach and rises into the esophagus. The symptoms of GERD can be very painful and, if left untreated, harmful to the digestive system. If you are experiencing GERD symptoms, getting a proper diagnosis is critical to understanding your reflux and developing the right treatment plan for you.
Not sure where to start? Fill out our quick questionnaire and we’ll reach out to discuss your next steps.GERD Questionnaire
Advanced treatment options for heartburn, reflux and GERD
Our Heartburn and Reflux Program is designed specifically to diagnose and treat your GERD, heartburn and reflux issues. Our multidisciplinary team includes surgeons, GI specialists and nurses to guide patients through the program, manometry nurses for diagnostic testing, and registered dieticians. Our surgeons perform minimally invasive laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery to help our patients live more comfortably. We have the experience and technology to care for even the most complex GERD cases.
Diagnostic testing for GERD
Your physician may suspect GERD based on your symptoms and medical history. To more accurately diagnose your condition, we offer the following tests:
24-hour esophageal pH monitoring
This test is the best way to confirm reflux. A 24-hour pH monitoring system uses a small tube passed through the nose and down the esophagus. The tube remains in place for 24 hours and monitors the amount and frequency of stomach acid that backs up into the esophagus.
Placement of the catheter takes about 5-10 minutes, and a nurse will review the monitoring instructions with you. You can then leave and return the next day to have the tube removed. During the 24-hour test, you can swallow, talk and breathe freely. You will also have a diary in which you record activities, such as eating and sleeping, as well as events, such as heartburn, chest pain and regurgitation.
Barium swallow exam
This exam involves a series of X-rays of the esophagus, stomach and the first part of the small intestine, called the duodenum. The X-rays are taken before and after drinking a contrast material (barium), which coats the inside of your GI tract, making it more visible on the X-ray. The barium swallow exam shows if you’re experiencing reflux. It also reveals issues such as hiatal hernias.
This procedure allows doctors to closely examine the lining of the esophagus. A thin, lighted tube with a tiny camera is passed down the throat to the esophagus and stomach. This allows your doctor to see any irritation or changes to the esophagus. To better assess your condition, an ultrasound may also be performed.
Esophageal pH Monitoring
This minimally invasive test evaluates frequent heartburn and related symptoms. A doctor will place a temporary capsule into your esophagus. Over the 48-hour test period, the capsule will measure your pH and acid production. The capsule sends pH data to a small receiver worn on your belt or waistband. You will be given a diary to write down the times when you have reflux symptoms, such as coughing, heartburn or regurgitation. This monitoring procedure is catheter-free, so you are able to go about your daily routine and eat normally during the test.
Other GERD diagnostic tests
In addition to the above tests, a doctor may order an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), abdominal ultrasound, gastric emptying or hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid (HIDA) scan to further diagnose your condition.
Minimally invasive outpatient treatment options
If nonsurgical methods of GERD treatment, such as lifestyle modification and medication management, have not been effective, an outpatient procedure may be your best treatment option.
We offer the following minimally invasive, outpatient procedures to treat GERD:
Radiofrequency ablation for Barrett’s esophagus
This is an outpatient procedure that can minimize the risk of developing esophageal cancer if a patient has Barrett’s esophagus as a result of GERD. The procedure involves the patient swallowing a thin, flexible, lighted tube called an endoscope. The endoscope transmits images of the inside of the esophagus, allowing your physician to see which areas require treatment. An ablation catheter is also inserted into the esophagus to deliver energy to the abnormal tissue. This procedure can minimize or prevent abnormal cells from developing into a cancerous condition.
Performing this therapy takes about an hour. It delivers radiofrequency energy to the muscle between the stomach and esophagus, which improves the muscle tissue. The result is enhanced barrier function and fewer reflux events. Stretta therapy treats the underlying problems that may cause GERD without involving surgery.
Fundic-sparing anti-reflux treatment
This is a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure that implants a series of interlinked titanium beads with magnetic cores around the esophagus just above the stomach. The magnetic attraction between the beads expands the existing esophageal sphincter’s barrier function to prevent reflux. The procedure is reversible and allows patients to preserve normal physiological functions, such as belching or vomiting.
This is a laparoscopic procedure in the abdomen that allows the doctor to directly see and operate on the stomach. This surgery uses small incisions to pass surgical tools into the abdomen to complete the surgery. Your surgeon will view the areas on a screen with images from a small camera inserted into the abdomen.
Transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF)
This innovative procedure rebuilds the anti-reflux valve and restores the body’s natural protection against reflux without incisions in your abdomen. TIF is a long-lasting, safe and effective way to treat GERD and involves minimal recovery time.
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Methodist Hospital Specialty and Transplant’s front entrance is located directly off Floyd Curl Drive. We offer a parking lot for patients and visitors. Once you walk through the main entrance, you will be greeted by one of our team members who can direct you to your appointment.
Heartburn and reflux at Methodist Healthcare
These two conditions commonly affect the gastrointestinal system. Reflux, also known as acid reflux, occurs when stomach acid travels back up the esophagus and into the mouth. Heartburn, a burning sensation in the chest, is a symptom of reflux.Learn about Heartburn and reflux