First novel reflux op performed

The UK’s first RefluxStopTM procedure has been performed at London’s independent charitable hospital King Edward VII’s.

Mr Nicholas Boyle

Consultant gastrointestinal surgeon Mr Nicholas Boyle and his team are pioneering the minimally invasive technique which they say offers a solution to hundreds of thousands of people in the UK affected by gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. 

Despite the proven benefits, just one in 100 patients are currently offered surgery.

Mr Boyle, founder of Reflux UK, said: ‘Reflux can be a complex condition and is best treated in the context of a specialist centre. 

‘Establishing RefluxUK and the Reflux Centre at King Edward VII’s provides the basis for more options, specialised solutions and better outcomes for a condition that can be incredibly debilitating to patients. 

‘Our multidisciplinary team process is dedicated to treating the condition in the most effective way. 

‘The addition of RefluxStopTM is an exciting development for patients, which will hopefully increase the number of patients eligible to undergo treatment which can transform their lives.’

Hospital chief executive Lindsey Condron called the new procedure a welcome step forward for improving the quality of life for those affected.

Unlike traditional fundoplication, RefluxStop does not compress the oesophagus. The hospital said in contrast the evidence is that most patients experience minimal swallowing difficulties following surgery or other potential side-effects, including difficulties with belching or vomiting.

Performed as a keyhole operation, the procedure includes repair of a hiatus hernia when present and strengthening of the lower oesophageal valve (LOS) – failure of which is the primary cause of reflux.

A small silicone device is placed on the upper part of the stomach through minimally-invasive laparoscopic surgery and helps maintain the LOS in the correct position, allowing it to work efficiently. 

Patients are discharged the same day as their surgery, which limits the challenges with eating and swallowing during recovery, particularly for those with poor oesophageal motility.