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Radiofrequency Treatment for GERD


Updated May 12, 2008

What Is Radiofrequency Treatment?

This is a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure performed on an outpatient basis. It is used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Using a endoscope, a physician will send radiofrequency energy to create thermal (heat) lesions in the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and the uppermost part of the stomach. This will lead to tissue constriction and will improve the thickness of the muscle wall in these areas. The result will be a reduction of acid reflux because the LES doesn't relax when it shouldn't and LES pressure is increased.

When is Radiofrequency Treatment Performed?

This treatment seems to work best for patients who have effective symptom control with medication but do not want to take medication or have trouble taking medication due to side effects. Also, keep in mind that for many people, medication is still necessary even after the radiofrequency treatment.

How Long Does the Radiofrequency Treatment Take?

The radiofrequency treatment can be performed in approximately one hour. The recovery time is brief, and most patients can return to their normal routines the next day. Some clinical studies have shown this procedure has led to a significant improvement in the symptoms of GERD patients, allowing many to stop taking their heartburn medication. A gastroenterologist is the one who would perform this under conscious sedation.

How Effective is Radiofrequency Treatment?

There isn't sufficient information at this time to determine the long-term effectiveness of the radiofrequency treatment. Physicians will routinely prescribe treatment options where the success rate is known and will give patients the best outcomes. These treatments include proton pump inhibitors and fundoplication surgery. While studies conducted in 2004 and 2002 document the percentage of success achieved from the radiofrequency treatment (Stretta Procedure), at the present time this rate of success does not equal that of the fundiplication surgery.

It is important to discuss with your physician what type of procedure is best for you, and what results you may expect.


"TREATING GASTROESOPHAGEAL REFLUX DISEASE." Office of Device Evaluation Annual Report Fiscal Year 2000. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 18 Feb 2007.

"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. 18 Feb 2007.

"The Word on GERD." American College of Gastroenterology. 18 Feb 2007.

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. 22 Feb 2007.

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. 22 Feb 2007

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  7. Radiofrequency Treatment - Treatment for GERD - Treatment for Acid Reflux - Stretta Procedure

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