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GERD and upper GI surgeries

The foregut, or upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract, is comprised of the esophagus, the stomach and the upper small intestines. Foregut surgery is focused primarily on gastroesophageal reflux disease, more commonly known as GERD. While the incidence of stomach cancer is decreasing worldwide, the incidence of gastric cancer resulting from reflux is increasing exponentially, with 15% of the people in the United States experiencing reflux. White Plains Hospital offers surgical and non-surgical options to treat GERD and other conditions of the upper GI tract.

Experienced GI and thoracic surgeons

GERD and other upper GI conditions don't always require a surgical solution. But when they do, patients have access to expert care, close to home.

The Hospital's skilled and experienced surgical team includes board-certified and fellowship-trained gastrointestinal and thoracic surgeons with many years of experience. Well-trained nurses support the team, ensuring that each patient receives a high level of individualized care.

Surgery takes place in our state-of-the-art operating rooms, which are designed and equipped specifically for minimally invasive and robotic procedures.

Common upper GI conditions treated

Esophageal motility disorders

An esophageal motility disorder occurs when the muscles of the esophagus, the tube that moves food and drink from the mouth to the stomach, fail to work properly. The result is that it becomes difficult to swallow and food can back up in your throat.

Reflux disease (GERD)

This chronic condition occurs when stomach acid or bile refluxes, or flows back, to the esophagus, irritating the lining and causing often intense heartburn and discomfort. While many people experience some form of heartburn occasionally, persistent or recurring symptoms may indicate a more serious condition like GERD.


Dysplasia refers to a condition in which normal esophageal cells change to intestine-like cells and lose their elasticity. Without treatment, high-grade dysplasia can often progress to cancer.


Achalasia is an esophageal motility disorder where the nerves in the esophagus deteriorate, preventing the valve at the bottom of the esophagus from opening properly. This prevents food from entering the stomach.


Esophagitis refers to the inflammation of the lining of the esophagus, the tube that moves food and drink from the mouth to the stomach. If untreated, this condition can be quite uncomfortable and can lead to problems with swallowing.


In a hiatal hernia, the stomach is forced up through the diaphragm and can often cause GERD. For more information on GERD, see "Reflux Disease." A paraesophageal hernia can result in the stomach becoming obstructed, with its blood supply cut off. Experts at the Hospital diagnose and treat a wide range of hernias.

Benign and malignant disorders

Benign tumors in the stomach and small intestine, though rare, can become malignant. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential.

Diagnosis & treatment

The multidisciplinary approach to treatment begins with the internist recognizing the problem. The gastroenterologist may then perform an endoscopy on the patient. The results of the endoscopy might lead to surgery, an oncology consultation, or a non-surgical solution. An ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist, a laryngologist, a pulmonologist, a speech therapist and a thoracic surgeon may also be involved in the diagnosis and treatment.