Many of us know that painful, burning sensation all too well – often it’s the heartburn you get after enjoying some of Buffalo’s prized chicken wings and pizza. Unfortunately, you’re not alone. According to the National Institutes of Health, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), commonly known as heartburn, affects up to one in five people in the United States.

“In addition to typical heartburn symptoms, people with GERD can have difficulty swallowing or experience coughing, sore throat, chest pain, hoarseness and asthma. Beyond these symptoms, GERD can negatively affect peoples’ lives by interfering with sleep, productivity, and diet.

When people get to the point where they are considering surgery, we look at each patient on a case by case basis, reviewing the results of their diagnostic testing and a number of other factors, to determine the safest and most effective option to meet their needs.”

Kenneth Eckhert, III, MD

Director, Heartburn Center, Mercy Hospital of Buffalo

What is GERD?

GERD is a chronic condition caused by a weak muscle in the esophagus called the lower esophageal sphincter or LES.

The LES acts as a valve that allows food and liquid to pass through to the stomach, while preventing stomach acids from flowing back into the esophagus. When it is not working properly, stomach acids rise into the esophagus causing symptoms of heartburn or regurgitation.

What to Do About It

Once diagnosed, treatment for GERD varies based on the person’s condition and the severity of symptoms. Sometimes, people can make modifications to their diet and lifestyle by staying away from spicy or acidic foods or avoiding meals too close to bedtime. Many GERD patients also find relief from prescription and over-the-counter medications such as Prilosec or Nexium. Others may benefit from acid reflux surgery.

LINX is a small flexible ring of magnets placed around the esophagus during laparoscopic surgery that helps control the sphincter muscle near the opening of the stomach to prevent acids from flowing back into the esophagus.

The TIF procedure, which stands for transoral incisionless fundoplication, is an incisionless procedure performed through the mouth that reconstructs the sphincter valve, so it works correctly.

Anti-Reflux Surgery
Another treatment option for people with GERD continues to be traditional anti-reflux surgery which has been long considered an effective solution for treating this condition.

Advice from the Experts

In recent years, new minimally invasive options have emerged in acid reflux surgery. The latest, most advanced procedures are the LINX® Reflux Management System and the TIF procedure, both of which have proven effective to alleviate GERD symptoms and help patients return to their normal lives.

“The good news is, these new advanced treatment options can change lives and help people with GERD experience relief from their symptoms, while avoiding long-term use of medications and serious medical complications that can develop over time,” explains Dr. Eckhert.

Living with persistent heartburn is uncomfortable and often impacts our overall health and wellness. Whether avoiding certain foods and drinks or struggling with activities that aggravate your symptoms, GERD can take a toll.

Learn how GERD specialist, Dr. Kenneth Eckhert can help. Call (716) 677-5500 to schedule a consultation or request a callback for an appointment at

Schedule a Consultation
Call (716) 677-5500

Schedule a Consultation
Call (716) 677-5500