What is GERD?

Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when a child’s digested or partially digested food flows back into the esophagus, causing heartburn, swallowing issues and in the case of young babies, frequent spitting up.

Surgical treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux or backwash of stomach contents up into the esophagus (swallowing tube) occurs to some degree normally in infants. Most infants will outgrow this “acid reflux” during the first year of life.  Gastroesophageal reflux is a disease (GERD) when it interferes with normal growth and development. GERD may result in “nutritional failure”; GERD may damage the esophagus; GERD may result in aspiration of stomach contents into the lungs and cause pneumonia or make lung disease worse. GERD is usually treated by pediatricians and pediatric gastroenterologists using acid reduction medicines along with changes in feeding technique and sometimes special formulas. Surgery is rarely required to treat GERD in infants and children.

If the medical treatments for GERD are not sufficient or symptoms persist in spite of best treatment, surgical control of GERD may help. Pediatric surgeons at Penn State Health Children's Hospital perform anti-reflux surgery using laparoscopic, video.

Why Choose Penn State Health Children’s Hospital for Care

Ranked Among the Nation’s Best

Penn State Health Children's Hospital is proud to be one of the nation's top children's hospitals.

  • U.S. News and World Report has ranked us as one of the best children’s hospitals every year. Learn more about our rankings. We are one of only 84 children's hospitals recognized in any specialty.
  • We are one of eight hospitals in the country, and the only one in Pennsylvania, to be named as a Level 1 Children’s Surgery Center by The American College of Surgeons (ACS) for excellence in pediatric surgical care.

Support Groups

Support groups provide children and their families an opportunity to connect with others in similar situations. Learn more about the support groups offered at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital.

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