Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a chronic condition that occurs when stomach acid refluxes up into your esophagus. This causes pain, wear on the esophageal lining, and potential long-term complications, including ulcers and precancerous conditions. GERD generally manifests itself as frequent heartburn, so if you have heartburn twice per week, you may have this condition.
Causes of GERD and the LINX System
GERD often results from a weakened lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a muscle which is supposed to keep the base of the esophagus closed. If it becomes too weak, acid from the stomach is allowed to flow up into the esophagus.
The LINX procedure supplements a weak LES with a string of magnets enclosed in titanium beads. This string forms a flexible band around the LES and helps keep it closed. The band also expands as needed, so when you swallow, the muscles forcing food down push the band open to let it through. The magnets then pull the ring tight again, closing the esophagus.
The beads are implanted using a laparoscopy, a minimally invasive procedure that uses small incisions and a fiber optic camera to work on abdominal areas.
Qualifications for the LINX System
If you have experienced symptoms of GERD in spite of multiple previous efforts to control it, you may be a candidate for the LINX System. Since it is a major surgery, it’s generally reserved for those who have exhausted all other possible treatments first. Also, those with allergies to titanium, nickel, stainless steel, or anything made from iron should not receive this surgery.
If you have been diagnosed with GERD, but previous treatments haven’t worked for you, contact the office of Dr. Malladi Bariatrics and Advanced Surgery to discuss whether the LINX System is right for you.