MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The WVU Heart and Vascular Institute’s Center for Esophageal Disease is offering a new treatment for patients who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition that causes food and digestive acids to rise into the esophagus. The transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF) allows surgeons to create a new esophageal sphincter to prevent reflux from occurring.

Ghulam Abbas, M.D., and Justin Kupec, M.D.
Ghulam Abbas, M.D., and Justin Kupec, M.D.

Surgeons have used both open and laparoscopic fundoplication procedures to wrap the upper part of the stomach around the end of the esophagus to prevent reflux, but these procedures require access through the abdomen using either a large incision or small laparoscopic incisions. The transoral approach allows the doctor to use an endoscope to perform the fundoplication procedure through the mouth without creating an incision, reducing the patient’s hospital stay and recovery time.

“This procedure gives patients the ability to eat regularly sooner after surgery and spend less time recovering so they can get back to their normal routine,” Ghulam Abbas, M.D., Center director, said. “By providing this at the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute’s Center for Esophageal Disease, we are able to help our patients receive care from specialists without having to leave the state.”

The WVU Heart and Vascular Institute is the first provider in the state to offer this minimally invasive procedure.

“The TIF procedure provides immediate relief for patients with GERD, a condition that can have a significant impact on their daily lives,” Justin Kupec, M.D., Center co-director, said. “This procedure lets us provide an immediate, lasting solution that doesn’t require a significant interruption to the patient’s life.”