LINX for Acid Reflux/GERD
SAMPA surgeons performed the first robotic LINX procedure, to treat acid reflux/GERD, in the state of Alabama in April 2018
After much consideration and research, our practice is proud to introduce a novel treatment for chronic acid reflux/GERD, known as LINX. The procedure implants a minimally invasive reflux barrier that is laparoscopically placed around the lower part of the esophagus to prevent the movement of acid upward from the stomach.
Typically, chronic acid reflux is caused by a malfunction in the esophageal muscles which then allow acid to move upward into the esophagus. This condition is aggravated by obesity, poor dietary and exercise choices, and consuming certain food such as those that are highly acidic or spicy.
Over time, stomach acid begins to affect the sensitive lining of the esophagus and causes symptoms that can vary in intensity depending on the patient. In severe cases, the lining of the esophagus may be changed on a cellular level, a condition known as Barrett’s Esophagus, which increases the risk of esophageal cancer.
How LINX Works
The LINX device is about the size of a quarter and is composed of a series of magnetic titanium beads orientated in a circular shape. During the procedure, the device it Is placed around the outside of the lower esophageal sphincter and closed to form a snug loop. When food is consumed, the device expands to allow the food to pass through, into the stomach. Once the food has passed, the magnetic beads retract once again and prevent acid from refluxing.
Results and Benefits
Importantly, the LINX device does not require the reconstruction of the esophageal sphincter and therefore many patients experience significant improvements in quality of life with fewer complications and minimal discomfort. In fact, a clinical study of magnetic esophageal sphincter augmentation devices showed 85% of patients being able to eliminate daily GERD medications, 88% of patients reporting no symptoms of heartburn and 99% of patients eliminating regurgitation entirely.
Risks and Consideration
Of course, there are risks associated with the LINX device that can include
- Reaction to anesthesia
- The inherent risks of laparoscopic surgery
- Device erosion, migration, or failure
- Appetite suppression or feeling full too soon
- Bloating, nausea, and vomiting
- Problems swallowing
- And more…
As with any surgical procedure, the experience of the surgical team plays a significant role in minimizing the complications mentioned above. Your surgeon will discuss potential complications with you during your initial consultation, where you will have the opportunity to decide if this or other chronic acid reflux treatments are the best options for your circumstance.
Further Reading: GERD Q&A with Dr. Hannon