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What Is Radiofrequency Treatment?

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Updated May 21, 2008

Question: What Is Radiofrequency Treatment?
Answer:
A minimally invasive procedure using an endoscope that is done on an outpatient basis. It is used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Using a endoscope, a physician will use radiofrequency waves to create heat lesions in the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and the uppermost part of the stomach. This will help the tissue in this area constrict and will improve the function of the LES. The result will be a reduction of acid reflux because the LES doesn't relax when it shouldn't.

Current studies of this procedure shows that, when used by a trained physician, the radiofrequency procedure is generally as safe as a routine endoscopy procedure.

Benefits of this procedures are that it is less invasive than laparoscopic surgery, and has fewer side effects. Side effects can include a sore throat and minor chest pain right after the procedure. It also takes time for the function of the LES to improve. Therefore, a patient may still need to take anti-reflux medication for symptoms until the LES function improves.

Related Resources:

Sources
"TREATING GASTROESOPHAGEAL REFLUX DISEASE." Office of Device Evaluation Annual Report Fiscal Year 2000. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 15 May 2008.

"Updated Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease." ISSN 0002-9270 doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2005.41217.x. American College of Gastroenterology. 15 May 2008.

"The Word on GERD." American College of Gastroenterology. 15 May 2008.

Wolfsen HC, Richards WO. "The Stretta procedure for the treatment of GERD: a registry of 558 patients." Laparoendosc Adv Surg Tech A. 2002 Dec;12(6):395-402. Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida 32224, USA. 15 May 2008.

Torquati A, Houston HL, Kaiser J, Holzman MD, Richards WO, "Long-term follow-up study of the Stretta procedure for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease." Surg Endosc. 2004 Oct;18(10):1475-9. Epub 2004 Jul 22. Department of Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, D-5219 MCN. 15 May 2008

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