A chronic cough was Dan Waxlax’s only symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
“I didn’t have any heartburn or acid reflux in my throat, but I was coughing five to six times every half hour,” Dan explained. “My daughter-in-law, who is a doctor, was the one who identified my cough as a GERD symptom that should be checked out.”
On his daughter-in-law’s recommendation, Dan sought an evaluation at the Minnesota Reflux and Heartburn Center (MRHC) at Riverwood Healthcare Center in Aitkin. The diagnostic test results revealed that Dan has Barrett’s esophagus, a precancerous condition that can lead to esophageal cancer.
Dr. Andrew Loveitt, MRHC reflux specialist and general surgeon, performed a Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF), which involves reconstructing the anti-reflux valve between the esophagus and the stomach to restore the body’s natural protection against refluxing stomach contents. There are no scars for the patient and frequently a quicker recovery than other more invasive procedures.
Dan also had a robotic-assisted hiatal hernia repair using the da Vinci System. The da Vinci is powered by robotic technology that allows the surgeon’s hand movements to be translated into smaller, precise movements of tiny instruments inside the patient’s body.
“I chose to get my GERD treated as a preventative step to avoid getting cancer,” Dan said. “There was no pain or discomfort with the TIF procedure I had done at Riverwood. Dr. Loveitt did a wonderful job!”
The TIF procedure is typically done as an outpatient procedure but given Dan’s three-hour drive from his home on Minnesota’s North Shore, Dan was hospitalized for overnight monitoring.
“I had excellent nursing care during my hospital stay,” Dan added. “Everyone was very friendly, including the cleaning staff. The care at Riverwood was outstanding, and I’ve had medical care at the Mayo Clinic.”
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