The Cambridge Heartburn Center offers a wide variety of treatment options. Our physicians will work with you to determine a personalized plan of care.
For many patients, lifestyle changes will treat heartburn completely. These changes include reducing or eliminating smoking, alcohol consumption, acidic or fatty foods, and carbonated beverages. Weight loss may be another recommendation as well as alteration of eating or sleeping patterns.
If lifestyle changes are not effective in treating GERD symptoms, over-the-counter antacids and other medications can help. Prescription medications may also be recommended.
Some patients chose to undergo surgery because their symptoms are not effectively treated by either lifestyle changes or medication, or they want to avoid long term daily medication. Sometimes this is the first option if there is also another problem, such as a hiatal hernia. Most of the time surgery for Heartburn and foregut disease is done laparoscopically through small incisions. Depending on what type of disease you have, you may require one or a combination of the following procedures:
Hiatal or Para-esophageal Hernia Repair
If any part of your stomach or your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is above your diaphragm, it will be moved back into your abdomen. Then your diaphragm muscles will be stitched tighter to prevent this from happening again in the future.
Fundoplication involves wrapping the upper stomach around the esophagus using stitches in both areas. This prevents acids and food from flowing up into the esophagus.
The LINX Implant Procedure is a surgical treatment for heartburn and/or GERD. It is a small device about the size of a quarter made of permanent magnets surrounded by titanium beads. The LINX implant helps to strengthen and reinforce the valve between the esophagus and the stomach. This stops acid from entering the esophagus easily. LINX is removable should the need arise for other treatment options.
Weight Loss Surgery
Some patients are not a candidate for the Fundoplication or Linx surgery based on their weight. The patients often achieve complete heartburn control with a weight loss surgery instead.
Patients with certain types of abnormal esophageal motility will need to have some of the esophagus and stomach muscle cut (a myotomy) during their surgery. This is usually done at the same time as a fundoplication surgery.