INVERNESS, FL (Mar. 12, 2021) – This week, Citrus Memorial Hospital performed a new minimally invasive surgery to treat reflux. The Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF) – a treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – was performed by gastroenterologist Dr. Varun Patel along with general surgeon Dr. Parth Patel. Also assisting in the first case was gastroenterologist Dr. Sreekanth Chandrupatla.

In a healthy patient, there is a natural valve between the esophagus and the stomach that forms a physical barrier preventing stomach fluids from backwashing, or “refluxing,” up into the esophagus. In a patient with chronic GERD, this valve has become dysfunctional.  Many patients take reflux medications such as Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) that suppress acid production to help relieve their heartburn symptoms. Even with this medication they are still unable to eat the foods they want or need to sleep sitting up to reduce nighttime reflux.

“This is a great addition to the comprehensive reflux care offered at Citrus Memorial Hospital,” said Parth Patel. “Drs. Varun Patel, Sreekanth Chandrupatla, Siddharth Mather and I are proud of the work our caregivers have put in to bring this procedure to the hospital. Citrus Memorial is the only hospital in the region to offer this treatment; by making it available here in Citrus County we’re able to save community members the hassle of driving hours away for advanced care.”

According to Varun Patel, the first TIF case at the Inverness hospital exceeded his expectations. “Everything went very smoothly. There were no hiccups. In fact, we expected the procedure to take just over an hour, but were able to efficiently make the repair and complete the case within 45 minutes.”

During TIF an endoscope and device are introduced together through the patient’s mouth into the stomach. The device is then used to reposition the patient’s esophagus and anchor it into place with fasteners. Because the procedure is performed using an endoscope it requires no incisions and does not leave scars. Most patients can get back to their normal activities within a few days.

“TIF also provides a real benefit to patients with small hiatal hernias,” said Chandrupatla. “Since it’s a less invasive procedure that can often be done in tandem with a robotic-assisted hernia repair we consider it a same-day procedure. That means patients can get back to normal activity quickly with a brief modified diet and limited restrictions for a couple weeks.”

Photo Caption: Pictured (from left to right): General surgeon Dr. Parth Patel, gastroenterologist Dr. Varun Patel, Endoscopy Technician Matt Wido, gastroenterologist Dr. Sreekanth Chandrupatla and Citrus Memorial Hospital Manager of Surgical Services Paula Springston, RN, BSN pose together after performing Citrus Memorial Hospital’s first Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF) procedure.