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New medical procedure at Delray Medical for people with heartburn, reflux

Posted at 6:11 PM, Dec 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-28 18:11:50-05

Millions of people suffer from issues like GERD, heartburn, and reflux. Now, Delray Medical Center is offering a new procedure for people who don't get relief from over the counter medication and don't want to undergo traditional surgery.

It's called a TIF procedure and uses a device that goes into your mouth and down your esophagus to fix the root cause of reflux. The procedure is incision-less and offers a faster, easier recovery than traditional surgery. 

Edward Bakalenik was the first patient to get the procedure done at Delray Medical Center earlier this year. After spending five years taking medicine for severe heartburn, he was desperate for a solution. That's when his gastroenterologist Dr. Andrew Zwick introduced him to the TIF procedure.

Bakalenik says after the procedure, "it's like I'm a new person. I forgot what it felt like without pain."

Dr. Zwick, who is the only physician performing the procedure in our area, says "when the diets and medications aren't working well enough, this is an option without true surgery to get the benefit of surgical-like repair without incisions."

Dr. Zwick says, "this has really been groundbreaking for me. As a gastroenterologist in the community, reflux is the most common complaint people come to our office with."

Bakalenik liked the idea of a faster recovery and no visible scar, compared to traditional surgery. Right after his procedure, he says he went off his meds and started to feel better. He even got to enjoy his favorite meal of steak and beer. He says, "I can continue my life like a normal person and enjoy those things I couldn't enjoy before and wake up in the morning without a burning in my throat."

He calls it life-changing and hopes it can do the same for others.

Dr. Zwick says, "I knew that this was going to be something that I was going to be proud of doing and proud to offer to the community."

Dr. Zwick cautions that the procedure is not for everyone and you can contact him at his office or Delray Medical Center if you are interested in finding out if you are a candidate.