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Health Watch: New Surgery Can Fix Heartburn

(CBS)

(CBS)

CBS New York (con't)

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NEW YORK (CBS) ― Heartburn can be excruciating and many people suffer the symptoms every day. But now a new procedure is helping the symptoms permanently.

CBS 2 HD learned a lot more on the surprisingly simple surgery.

“I started to have problems with heartburn when I was about 16 years old,” Eduardo Bustillo said.

It was a family condition that got worse over time for Bustillo.

“I was unable to sleep, waking up in the middle of the night, taking antacids all the time,” Bustillo said.

General surgeon Dr. Jorge Sosa performs a simple procedure to help eliminate heartburn, also called gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.

“The acid continuously comes up and burns the esophagus. What we do is using the stomach we make a new valve around the esophagus. It’s called a fundiplication. We put stitches and that now acts like a new valve,” Dr. Sosa said.

Certain foods can worsen heartburn, including citrus fruits, tomatoes and caffeine. But for some people eating virtually anything can trigger their symptoms.

Weight loss and medications can help the condition for many, but for those who just can’t get relief, this minimally invasive procedure can make the difference.

“Heartburn interferes with your daily life. You can’t socialize. You can’t have even an occasional drink. You cant sleep next to your spouse because you have to sleep in a couch sitting up,” Dr. Sosa said.

Bustillo had the surgery six months ago and can’t believe how his life has changed.

“I’m able to eat everything and the most important thing that I have noticed is that I’m able to sleep the whole night without waking up,” Bustillo said.

Most patients who have the procedure are back home the next day and back at work within a week. Some insurance companies cover the procedure, and many doctors feel it may save money in the long run.

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