Treatment Options

Once we identify a cause of your heartburn, we can provide a customized treatment plan. Depending on the severity of the condition, options may include lifestyle changes, medications or surgical interventions. Our surgeons perform open surgery, as well as minimally invasive surgeries and robotic procedures, for esophageal disease. Your surgeon will explain your particular procedure in more detail.

Lifestyle changes

A number of simple lifestyle changes can often make significant improvement to your heartburn. 

  • Maintain a healthy weight to avoid abdominal pressure that pushes on your stomach and causes acid to rise into your esophagus.
  • Learn which foods make your heartburn worse, such as spicy, fried or acidic foods, and avoid these choices.
  • Avoid large meals or eating late at night. Wait at least three hours after eating before lying down.
  • Avoid sodas or other carbonated beverages
  • Avoid or minimize caffeinated beverages
  • Avoid clothes that fit tightly around your waist.
  • Don’t smoke or drink alcohol. Both decrease the esophageal sphincter’s ability to close properly.
  • Elevate the head of your bed or place a wedge between your mattress and box spring. 


Short-term use of medications can be helpful, but there are risks to long-term use. There are three classes of medications prescribed for heartburn.

  • Antacids, such as Tums, neutralize the stomach acid for quick relief.
  • H-2-Receptor Antagonists, such as Zantac, work to reduce stomach acid. They may be helpful for short-term or immediate relief, but most people will develop a tolerance to these medications, making them ineffective over time.
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors, including Prevacid, Nexium and Dexilant, can also reduce stomach acid and may provide longer-term relief.

It is important to identify the cause of your symptoms. In some cases, medications other than heartburn medications may be useful. This could include muscle relaxants, steroids, anti-anxiety meds, and pro-motility agents.

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Minimally invasive surgery is performed with laparoscopy or robot-assisted surgery using the da Vinci® Surgical System. Laparoscopic surgery requires only a few small incisions into which your surgeon will fit long, thin surgical instruments and a tiny camera. The camera will provide images to guide the surgeon during the procedure. The robotic option gives your surgeon a magnified 3D high-definition view inside your body. The system also enables the surgeon’s hand movements to be translated into precise movements of small instruments inside your body.

Nissen or Partial Fundoplication

This surgical procedure to treat acid reflux wraps the top of the stomach around the lower esophagus to reinforce the lower esophageal sphincter. This helps to create new sphincter or “valve” between the esophagus and stomach. Our rate of failed Nissen or partial fundoplication is less than five percent, compared to a national average of 33 percent.

Hiatal Hernia Repair

A hiatal hernia occurs when a part of your stomach bulges through your diaphragm. Most hiatal hernias require surgery. This may involve pulling your stomach down, reducing the opening in your diaphragm and reconstructing your esophageal sphincter. Our rate of hiatal hernia recurrence is less than five percent, compared to a national average of 33 percent.


The LINX procedure is a relatively new way to treat heartburn with implanted beads that tighten the esophageal sphincter. Learn more about LINX here:

Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery

If you are overweight, heartburn surgery such as a Nissen or LINX may be ineffective and too high risk. Losing weight can often improve or remove heartburn symptoms. If you are overweight and suffer from heartburn, consider the benefits of bariatric weight loss surgery. In some cases, bariatric surgery may be curative for heartburn symptoms. Our surgeons perform both Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass and Gastric Sleeve surgery. Learn more at

Minimally Invasive Esophagectomy for Esophageal Cancer

During this surgical procedure, our surgeon will remove part of your esophagus and reconstruct it using a piece of another organ, usually your stomach. 

Radiofrequency Ablation

This minimally invasive procedure uses electrical energy and heat to remove irregular cells as part of a treatment for Barrett’s esophagus. Once the diseased tissue is removed, your body will regenerate new tissue in your esophagus. This is often followed by surgery to treat the underlying cause of Barrett’s esophagus to prevent recurrence of irregular cells.