ARMA (Anti-reflux Mucosal Ablation)

Anti-Reflux Mucosal Ablation

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common health problem that significantly affects the quality of life of many people today. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are considered first-line therapy for the treatment of GERD. However, new treatment modalities are being explored for patients who do not respond to treatment or who want to avoid the risks associated with medication use. One of these methods is ARMA, or Antireflux Mucosal Ablation.

ARMA is a highly effective and safe endoscopic procedure that has been used for the last few years. During gastroscopy, the surface of the stomach adjacent to the junction of the stomach and esophagus is burned in a circular manner using a method called “argon plasma coagulation“. The ends of the burned area will come closer to each other over time during wound healing and the looseness in that area will disappear after a month. In this way, patients with reflux complaints can get rid of their complaints with a permanent solution without the need for surgery.

Who is the ARMA Method Suitable for?

ARMA offers an alternative for patients who are not satisfied with proton pump inhibitor therapy or who cannot accept the idea of continuous medication. It is especially ideal for PPI-resistant reflux patients and individuals with mild to moderately impaired gastroesophageal junction structure. As an endoscopic procedure, ARMA is also an attractive option for those with a fear of surgery, compared to more invasive methods such as laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery.

ARMA Process

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which stomach contents back up into the esophagus, irritating its lining. Long-term GERD can lead to erosions in the esophagus and eventually to serious complications such as Barrett’s esophagus.

The ARMA (Antireflux Mucosal Ablation) procedure is a method developed to treat the damage caused by GERD. Basically, this procedure aims to reduce reflux symptoms by burning off the damaged tissue layer in the lining of the esophagus and stimulating the growth of healthy new cells.

The ARMA procedure is usually performed under endoscopy. In this procedure, where the patient is under general anesthesia or sedation, an endoscope is inserted through the patient’s mouth into the esophagus. Through the endoscope, the inner surface of the esophagus is examined and the damaged tissue layer is intervened. It is applied in cases where the patient must have fasted for at least 6 hours before the procedure. The procedure is usually completed within 30 minutes. Using argon plasma coagulation, the mucosa is ablated, leading to a narrowing of the gastric valve and therefore a reduction in reflux symptoms.

After the ablation procedure, the lining of the esophagus usually heals within a few weeks. During this time, most patients report a significant reduction in reflux symptoms. Patients may be advised to make changes to their eating habits to ensure that the effects of the ARMA procedure are permanent.

Advantages of ARMA Treatment

  1. Minimally Invasive: ARMA is a minimally invasive procedure because it is an endoscopic procedure. This ensures that the patient recovers quickly and has a short hospital stay.
  2. Short Recovery Time: The ARMA procedure usually has a quick recovery time. Most patients can return to normal activities within a few weeks after the procedure.
  3. Reduction of Symptoms: The ARMA procedure reduces irritation in the esophagus, which alleviates reflux symptoms. This significantly improves the patient’s quality of life.
  4. Fast Return to Social Life: The return to social life after treatment is fast. Patients can continue their normal activities after they recover from anesthesia and rest for a few hours. In the long term, ARMA treatment can provide permanent improvement in GERD symptoms and no postoperative reflux recurrence has been observed.