LINX Reflux Management System
Anatomy of swallowing food
When we swallow our food travels down the esophagus to the stomach. When the food enters the stomach there is a valve or ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) that closes to keep the food in the stomach.
What is heartburn?
Heartburn is acid reflux that occurs occasionally when you eat spicy or acidic foods, fried or fatty foods, caffeine and alcohol. Eating a large meal or eating before bedtime can cause these symptoms. Smoking and obesity contribute to the problem. More than 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month. Heartburn can be treated with lifestyle changes, and over-the-counter medications that are designed to decrease the production of stomach acid.
Typical heartburn symptoms include:
- a burning sensation in the chest that can last for hours
- a sensation of pressure or pain that gets worse when you lie down or bend over
- an acid taste in the throat
- a feeling that food or pills are stuck in your throat or the middle of your chest
What is gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)?
GERD is a chronic and often progressive disease where stomach acid and bile back up into the esophagus, due to a weak LES. The acid irritates the esophagus and causes heartburn.
Persistent heartburn symptoms that occur several times a week, and do not improve with over the counter medications and changes to your diet are GERD. In addition to heartburn, hallmarks of GERD are regurgitation and dysphagia or a sensation that food is stuck in your esophagus.
GERD is a more serious condition that substantially impairs quality of life.
Left untreated, GERD can cause complications including inflammation of the esophagus, pain and a disease called Barrett’s Esophagus (BE), where the lining of the esophagus erodes. BE can lead to esophageal cancer. BE is more common in white men, people older than 50, smokers and obese people.
Surgical Treatment Options for GERD
A laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication (LNF) is surgery where the top of the stomach is wrapped around the LES to reinforce the sphincter and reduce acid reflux. LNF is the gold standard surgical treatment for GERD. However, it is a long and more invasive surgery, permanently alters the anatomy of the stomach, and is not reversible. Patients say in the hospital for 2-3 days, and recovery can take 4-6 weeks and involve dietary restrictions for a period after surgery.
What is LINX?
LINX is a drug-free treatment that involves a small, flexible ring of magnetized titanium beads. Using a laparoscope, the ring is implanted around the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This keeps stomach acids from backing up into the esophagus. It is safe and effective to restore the sphincter as a natural barrier. It is FDA approved, and is equally as effective as LNF in restoring quality of life, with less postoperative side effects.
How does it work?
The magnet ring keeps the LES closed to prevent reflux but is flexible to allow swallowing. When you swallow, the beads open to allow food and liquids to pass into the stomach and close immediately after swallowing to prevent reflux. It is useful for mild, moderate and severe GERD treatment.
For the implant process, the patient is placed under general anesthesia. The surgeon uses a sizing tool to determine which LINX system should be implanted. Then, the band is placed around the LES by suture tails, and the surgeon connects the ends securely.
What are the benefits?
LINX is a simple standardized laparoscopic procedure that does not alter gastric anatomy, provides relief of reflux-related symptoms without impeding the ability to burp or vomit, and is reversible if necessary. It is a shorter surgery, with reduced side effects and less need for reoperation. Most patients can return home the same day as the surgery.
Advanced Surgical and Bariatrics of New Jersey is pleased to be able to offer our patients the LINX procedure. It can help you return to a normal lifestyle, reduce or eliminate GERD and its symptoms, eliminate the need for medications, and you can return to a normal diet.
Who is a good candidate?
- Patients who have found that medication is unsuccessful at managing symptoms.
- Patients who find that diet and lifestyle changes have not relieved symptoms.
- Patients with persistent symptoms of GERD that significantly impairs their quality of life.
- Patients who desire to stop taking medications and want a more permanent solution.
Advanced Surgical and Bariatrics of New Jersey has offices in Somerset, Marlboro, East Brunswick and Princeton, serving the New York and New Jersey area. All patients receive state-of-the-art care with cutting edge techniques including laparoscopic (minimally invasive), and robotic bariatric surgical techniques. Contact us to find out if you are a good candidate for LINX.