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I had wonderful results with my Stretta for about 18 mos. It all came back. My brother was practically disabled for a year following his fundoplication, so I don't want to go that route. I can't risk it.
I wish you the best of luck. There was absolutely zero recovery from my Stretta. I was back at work in two days.
The Stretta procedure I had was one of the biggest nothings I've ever done. The manometry left me more disabled than the Stretta. I had no pain, no burning - nothing - immediately following surgery. It was absolutely painless. I'm told that's because I had a surgeon who helped pioneer the procedure, but I've heard others who have also had no ill effects. In fact, I went back to work in two days.
Could you please give us more information on the stretta. You mentioned that your doc had a hand in pioneering the stretta. Would you mind telling us who he/she and where they are located? How many had they done so far and what sort of success/failure rate did they predict for you?
What sort of tests did you have pre-procedure? Did your insurance cover it? How much did it cost?
And what about you. What were your symptoms prior to the procedure? How long had you had gerd?
Whew!! Lots of questions. We don't have any 'resident experts' here on the stretta, so it would be nice to get some news.
I went to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale at the urging of my original GI doc. My doctor's name is David E. Fleischer, Chair of Gastroenterology. He had done hundreds of Strettas prior to my procedure and was one of the first docs to do it. At the time, no other doc in the Phoenix area was doing them. He is an exceptionally nice man.
I was supposedly not an 'ideal' candidate. The ideal candidate has symptoms that are completely controlled by medication. Mine were not. I have LPR not GERD, so it's a little different. He told me the chances it would improve my condition were 50/50.
I had manometry done (outside of my parents funerals, that was the worst day of my life) and the Bravo pH testing which was absolutely painless. I was having bad reflux, but my manometry was normal (which I understand happens frequently w/LPR).
I had my Stretta done in one day. It's an outpatient procedure. They used conscious sedation, so I was not intubated and I woke up from the procedure very rapidly. I had absolutely zero discomfort. The nurse said I might feel like I was having a heart attack and if so, take the pain medication. I never had any pain. I had no side effects like not being able to swallow or having a 'lump'. I guess some people do.
I had to eat soft foods for a month and crush my pills before taking them, but it's nothing like fundoplication.
It takes sometimes months to begin to feel a difference, as the tissue needs a chance to build. I felt a difference after about two months. It was really great. It kept getting better and better over time until my reflux was practically non-existent except when drinking red wine.
Late last summer, I started getting symptoms again. Slowly, I wound up back where I was.
Recently I went back to Dr. Fleischer. He recommended fundo, but I will not go through that procedure. My brother had it and it took him over a year to feel human again. I cannot risk that at this time. Right now I'm on double doses of Nexium and I am getting relief. He doesn't know why the Stretta didn't last. Part of not having a lot of history w/a procedure.
He said that Mayo is doing trials on an esophagus stapling procedure, but that to qualify, you can't have had another endoscopic procedure. I can't have that now, but they're doing amazing things endoscopically these days and I'm hopeful that there's a non-fundo solution in the near future.
The procedure cost $7,500. Because Mayo is out of network, I paid $6000 out of pocket for the procedure. It was expensive, but more docs are doing them now. I guess you really need someone experienced, as they truly do burn your esophagus with radio frequency. A less experienced surgeon could have produced disastrous results.
laryngopharyngeal reflux. Basically in GERD, the symptoms are heartburn - a burning sensation in the chest, pain. Lots of folks on this site report those symptoms. It's a dysfunction of the LES or lower esophageal sphincter. Folks with LPR often have some LES dysfunction but also have upper sphincter dysfunction that allows acid to come up into their throats, sinuses. It can cause coughing, sore throat, a feeling of a lump in their throats, sinus infections, post nasal drip, earaches and hoarseness or voice disorders. A good many folks with LPR don't even know they have reflux because they dont' have the burning sensation that many GERD patients have.
For instance, I don't have burning, but I do have the sensaton of regurgitation. I know some who don't even have that. It is much harder to treat and judging from the posts on this site, individuals respond to different treatments. The one thing that does seem to help is intensive PPI therapy which I am currently on. I am receiving relief and I am hoping it will help even more long term.
As far an other procedure, there is a new technology called "Gatekeeper", which is starting in clinical trials now. There is a university clinic doing the trial locally in Atlanta, but I did not want to go through the entire testing process. Since it is randomized blind study, you have a 50/50 chance of not getting it for the first six months. I think its made by the same company that does the Bravo system, Medtronics. Main advantage over something like Enteryx is that it may be possible to remove the devices. They basically implant a hydagel (something like contact lenses.) Starts out the size of a pencil lead, swells up to the size of an erasor. The clinical trial is supposed to be at 10 places in the US. Might look into whether they are doing it in your area. Of course, there is not much of a track record, but it looked promising, if fundo is something you would not consider.
I'm in Atlanta, so I'm guessing that would be Emory? Do you have a website or phone number to get more information on this "Gatekeeper" procedure and/or do you know if they are still doing the testing procedure?
You're right its Emory. Daniel Smith is the Dr (I think.) I checked with them in Dec. or so and they were still looking at that time. The good news is that they pay you to do it, and they will test the heck out of you (multiple Ph monitors, endoscopy, etc). Bad news is they will test the heck out of you. Let us know if you decide to do this.
PS Here is their flyer:
"Are you interested in a possible alternative to continued prescription medicines to treat your GERD symptoms?
Investigational Research for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
We are currently recruiting participants for a medical device study to determine the effect of an endoscopic procedure on the symptoms of GERD.
If you or someone you know would be interested in participating and would like to learn whether you might be a candidate for this investigational Research, please call the medical center at 404-778-7777
They will explain the study in more detail."
Thanks.... sort of. The whole idea scares me and it is early (6 months) in my LPR journey. But the study is still seeking volunteers, and since the source of LPR is the same as GERD, and I have responded to Prevacid (now, double doses, of course) I passed the initial telephone screening.
I suppose it couldn't hurt to continue with the screening because "they test the heck out of you" sounds better than my ENT saying, let's wait and see. So now I guess I'll find out what's next in regards to whether I qualify on the next level, and what's what legally, etc.
I was just planning on making an appointment with another ENT (whose approach is aggressive)...and have been experimenting with just taking Ranitidine (to see if the burning tongue is a side effect of Prevacid).
Anyway, it's hard enough for me to get the nerve (unless I'm feeling angry) to try a new doctor, going for a study is worse.
Nervous and confused... do any of the regulars (Thistle, TomC, etc) feel I'm jumping the gun in seeking this out so early? On the other hand, wouldn't it be an inexpensive way to be "fully tested?"