Occasional heartburn is normal, especially after a spicy Louisiana crawfish boil. But up to 40 million Americans suffer from persistent symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, a painful condition that can lead to more serious health issues.

That’s why the Tulane Heartburn and Esophageal Surgery Center provides patients in New Orleans and throughout the region with expert diagnosis, treatment and surgical options – including many minimally invasive robotic solutions – to treat GERD and other issues associated with heartburn and the esophagus. Led by Dr. Christopher DuCoin, the center has pioneered several new treatments in this field, including performing the region’s first per-oral endoscopic myotomy, or POEM, procedure to treat achalasia, and leading efforts to develop minimally invasive and robotic solutions for esophageal cancer.

Conditions treated include:

  • GERD – the backward flow of the stomach’s contents into the esophagus, often causing severe, persistent heartburn.
  • Barrett’s esophagus – a painful condition usually the result of repeated exposure to stomach acid.
  • Dysplasia – the presence of abnormal cells with esophageal tissue, which may develop into cancer if untreated.
  • Esophageal cancer – more often found in men than women, this form of cancer is frequently associated with tobacco or alcohol use.
  • Hiatal hernia – also known as a stomach hernia, this occurs when the stomach bulges up through the diaphragm muscle, into the chest cavity.
  • Achalasia – a condition associated with the loss of nerve cells in the esophagus.
  • All esophageal dysmotility disorders – swallowing disorders associated with irregular, unsynchronized or absent esophageal contractions.
  • Other conditions associated with the esophagus

Our physicians use a variety of cutting-edge technologies and a multidisciplinary team of experts to diagnose the cause of heartburn or other esophageal conditions. Treatment options offered by the Tulane Heartburn and Esophageal Surgery Center include:

  • Robotic surgery, for treatment of:
    • Esophageal cancer
    • Para-esophageal and hiatal hernias with repair and Nissen fundoplication
    • Achalasia with Heller myotomy
  • Minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery
  • Surgical endoscopy, including the per-oral endoscopic myotomy (POEM procedure)
  • Endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD), for diagnosis of masses in the esophagus and stomach that used to require surgery
  • HALO radiofrequency ablation, or “burning” of the esophagus for pre-cancerous masses
  • LINX reflux management system, using metallic beads that rebuild the lower esophagus to prevent reflux
  • Esophageal stent placement, to stent the esophagus open and block holes/perforations
  • Ovesco clip placement, state-of-the=art endoscopic clips to close holes/perforations in the stomach and esophagus

Patient Stories

Charlotte Kirsch

Charlotte Kirsch enjoyed a full, active life with her family and kept busy working in a retail position. With her grandson nearby, she was often spending time with him. Charlotte had never smoked, and although she had high blood pressure, she was otherwise...   Read more

MarieClare Powell

Sister MarieClare Powell was a generally healthy 90-year-old, enjoying her golden years and active lifestyle living in Mississippi. But for about two years, she frequently felt nauseous and had to eat cautiously, being careful of the amount of food she...   Read more

To learn more, to schedule an appointment or to refer a patient, please call the Tulane Gastrointestinal and Surgery Clinic at (504) 988-5110.