In his latest online article, Mr Ahmed R. Ahmed give us his insights into a new minimally invasive technique to treat acid reflux called RefluxStop. He talks about what the procedure is, how it works, if its an effective treatment, the benefits, risks, recovery and eligibility criteria.
What is the RefluxStop procedure and how does it work?
Reflux stop is an innovative minimally invasive surgical technique that has emerged to provide relief for individuals experiencing acid reflux. In essence, this procedure entails the placement of a small cube-shaped device onto the stomach, a process that typically lasts around 60 minutes. Remarkably, patients undergoing this procedure wake up free from reflux symptoms.
RefluxStop restores the function of the closing muscle between the stomach and the oesophagus by placing and maintaining it in the correct position below the diaphragm.
The RefluxStop implant is placed on the outside of the stomach and covered by stomach wall tissue in a pouch.
Reflux is effectively prevented by restoring the natural distance between the closing muscle (sphincter) and diaphragm. RefluxStop maintains the closing muscle in the anatomically correct position.
The oesophagus will not be wrapped or constricted, as in existing anti-reflux procedures and the food passageway will not be affected.
Therefore unwanted side effects such as swallowing problems, inability to belch and vomit as well as gas bloating are normally avoided.
Is RefluxStop an effective treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease?
Reflux stop is a treatment designed to address gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). As many are aware, various surgical options exist for GERD, such as the traditional fundoplication or wrap procedures, which involve wrapping the stomach around the oesophagus. A few years ago, the introduction of the LINX implant, a magnetic ring placed at the lower oesophagus, offered an alternative approach to combat reflux. However, both these treatments have a common drawback: they create a constriction or narrowing of the oesophagus, potentially leading to postoperative swallowing difficulties that can persist for weeks to months.
The unique advantage of the reflux stop surgical solution for GERD lies in its avoidance of oesophageal constriction. During this procedure, if a hiatal hernia is present, it is repaired, and a small cube-shaped device, resembling a dice, is implanted at the top of the stomach, known as the fundus. This technique effectively reinforces the fundus, preventing it from migrating back into the chest cavity and consequently curing reflux.
To date, approximately 500 cases worldwide have undergone this procedure, yielding outstanding results. I'm honoured to be among the select few surgeons in the United Kingdom offering this innovative surgery.
What are the benefits and risks associated with RefluxStop compared to traditional reflux treatments?
The key benefit of reflux stop treatment is that it effectively cures reflux, just like other surgeries. The clear advantage of reflux stop is that it doesn't cause the swallowing difficulties that often occur after traditional anti-reflux surgeries or the LINX procedure. With reflux stop, there are no post-surgery swallowing problems to worry about.
This makes reflux stop an excellent choice for patients who not only have reflux but also struggle with poor oesophageal motility. Some individuals with acid reflux experience issues with their oesophageal contractions. Refluxstop not only addresses reflux but can also help restore normal oesophageal function in these cases.
How long is the recovery period after undergoing the RefluxStop procedure?
Reflux stop is performed using minimally invasive laparoscopic or keyhole surgery, allowing most patients to go home on the same day. Typically, individuals can get back to work within a week. As for physical activities, swimming, cycling, and running can be resumed after two weeks, while gym workouts, exercise, and contact sports can be safely resumed after six weeks.
Are there any eligibility criteria or considerations for patients seeking RefluxStop as a reflux treatment?
Refluxstop is suitable for anyone suffering from reflux. Typically, patients with reflux and weakened oesophageal motility may not qualify for the LINX operation or even traditional wrap or fundoplication procedures. This is because both of these surgeries involve narrowing the lower part of the oesophagus. However, with refluxstop, as it doesn't create this narrowing, it opens up the possibility of surgery for anyone experiencing reflux, regardless of any impairment in oesophageal motility. Therefore, the indications for reflux stop are broader compared to traditional anti-reflux surgery, as it enables us to offer surgery to individuals with poor motility.