The Stretta procedure utilizes radiofrequency energy (RF), an energy waveform which is used in many medical specialties for coagulating or treating tissues. RF is used by Cardiologists to stop dangerous heart rhythms. Urologists use RF for treating prostate enlargement (difficulty passing urine in males). Ear, nose, and throat specialists use RF to eliminate snoring and sleep apnea (stoppage of breathing during sleep). General surgeons use RF to cut and coagulate tissue. RF has been used in surgery for nearly 100 years. The Stretta procedure was cleared by the FDA for the treatment of GERD in April 2000, and uses RF to tighten the valve between the stomach and the esophagus which has been proven to reduce GERD symptoms.
Human tissue responds to the warming effect of RF by contracting. A portion of the contraction takes place immediately at the time of treatment while the remainder takes place as the body heals over the ensuing 6-12 months. GERD symptoms may take several months to be reduced and some patients may require anti-secretory medication for several months after treatment.