Living with chronic acid reflux—also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)— can be miserable. If medication and diet changes have not worked, it may be time to consider a surgical treatment. Often, surgery can provide permanent relief from acid reflux.
Nissen Fundoplication is a procedure in which the top part of the stomach, called the fundus, is wrapped around the base of the esophagus and stitched into place. The Nissen Fundoplication procedure corrects acid reflux by permanently strengthening the muscle at the base of the esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This procedure can be performed endoscopically, using five small incisions, or through a single large abdominal incision. The endoscopic procedure is usually preferred due to its shorter recovery time.
The LINX System
Developed as an alternative to Nissen Fundoplication, the LINX procedure places a ring of tiny, titanium-coated magnetic beads around the LES. The beads’ magnetic properties keep the weakened sphincter closed most of the time. The pressure of swallowing is strong enough to break the magnetic attraction temporarily, allowing food and liquids to enter the stomach. The magnetized beads re-close the LES after swallowing to continue to prevent reflux. Once placed, the LINX system begins working immediately.
Which Procedure is Better?
Both Nissen Fundoplication and the LINX procedure are effective for correcting GERD when performed by an experienced, board-certified surgeon like Dr. Malladi. Both procedures can be performed using minimally invasive techniques in order to allow for relatively quick return to normal activity.
Some patients choose the LINX procedure it does not require surgical alteration of the stomach, which does involve some risk. Others prefer the Nissen Fundoplication because they are not comfortable with a device being implanted in their bodies. Those with the LINX device will have to consult with their imaging facility prior to having an MRI exam as certain MRI machines are not compatible with the LINX system.
Ultimately, it comes down to which procedure you are most comfortable with and what your individual situation requires. If you suffer from acid reflux and are considering acid reflex surgery, together you and Dr. Malladi can review the options and make an informed decision.