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Woman Seeks Second Opinion for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Treatment

Minimally Invasive Procedure Provides Relief from Chronic Pain

When Theresa Daddono's friend approached her with an article in the Chicago Tribune about Marco Patti, MD--a world-renowned surgeon and director of our Center for Esophageal Diseases--she said she had renewed hope that there might be a solution to the gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) that had been causing her chronic pain.

Daddono, 71, had undergone surgery about six years earlier at a hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. The procedure, called a laparoscopic fundoplication, can stop reflux of stomach contents by tightening the valve located between the stomach and the esophagus, and was successful in stopping Daddono's pain for about three years.

When her symptoms returned, she was able to manage them effectively for another couple years. Eventually the medications lost their effectiveness, and Daddono sought help from a surgeon at another Chicago hospital.

"That surgeon told me that it would be necessary to perform another operation through a very large incision in my chest, requiring a long period of anesthesia and a very long and painful recovery," Daddono said.

The Chicago Tribune article led her to seek a second opinion from Dr. Patti in December 2008. Dr. Patti's practice is largely focused on treating GERD, and he is a world-renowned leader in the field of minimally invasive esophageal surgery. "Dr. Patti told me he felt confident that he could perform the repair through an incision in my abdomen, resulting in a much easier surgery and a much faster recovery," she said. "I said, 'Let's go for it.'"

After a five-day hospital stay to recover, during which Daddono said she felt no pain, she is back at home eating her favorite foods and playing with her eight grandchildren.

"Immediately upon meeting Dr. Patti, I trusted him, and I am so glad I did," she said. "His confidence was extremely reassuring, and he explained everything to me every step of the way. My pain is gone, and I truly think of him as a miracle worker."

April 2009