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Stretta Treatment for GERD

Stretta therapy delivers radiofrequency energy to the lining of the lower esophageal valve.

The Stretta® procedure is an incision-less outpatient surgery that offers GERD patients an alternative to more invasive treatment when their acid reflux is not well controlled by medication.

Our UC Irvine Health H.H. Chao Comprehensive Digestive Disease Center is one of the only medical facilities in Southern California to offer the Stretta procedure, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for GERD in 2000.

The 40-minute procedure involves placing a flexible catheter called an endoscope down the throat and esophagus (image 1) to the lower The radiofrequency heat creates thermal lesions that strengthen the walls of the esophageal sphincteresophageal sphincter (LES) and upper stomach. The patient is comfortably sedated for the procedure.

Our GERD experts then deliver radiofrequency energy through the catheter to heat the muscles (image2), which causes them to thicken. This helps restore the natural barrier that prevents acid reflux (image 3).

Patients generally are able to return to normal activities within a day.

Studies show that most patients experience an improvement in acid reflux symptoms within two to six months as the muscle strengthens and heals. In clinical trials, more than 80 percent of patients were able to quit medications such as proton pump inhibitors After Stretta therapy, the lower esophageal sphincter walls have tightened, restoring its function as a barrier to acid reflux.for at least four years.

View UC Irvine Health patient Jessica Deutchman's story about Stretta and life after acid reflux ›

Laparoscopic fundoplication surgery, which involves wrapping the upper part of the stomach around the lower esophagus, has been the traditional alternative to medications for patients with GERD. For some patients, especially those with a large hiatal hernia, laparoscopic fundoplication remains the best option. However, the procedure is more invasive and requires both anesthesia and hospitalization.

Benefits of Stretta

  • No general anesthesia
  • No hospitalization
  • Quick recovery
  • Low risk of complications
  • No medications

A recent study in the journal Surgical Endoscopy of more than 200 patients tracked for 10 years after having the Stretta treatment showed that 86 percent needed no medications to control GERD. The study also showed a complication rate of less than 1 percent of more than 15,000 procedures.

A UC Irvine Health study shows that patients with upright reflux — the majority of GERD patients — can benefit from Stretta treatment. 

You no longer have to live with GERD and a lifetime of medication. UC Irvine Health esophageal disease specialists will work with you to develop a personal care plan that ensures your health and quality of life.

Check with your health insurer to determine whether this procedure is covered.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call us at 888-717-GIMD (888-717-4463).

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