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LINX – Revolutionary Treatment for Reflux

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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD, is a condition that occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus from the stomach. While many people get acid reflux from time to time, GERD occurs multiple times per week, can irritate the lining of your esophagus, and cause lasting damage.

This disease affects about 20 percent of the U.S. population, which are about 65 million people.

Common signs and symptoms of GERD include:

  • Burning sensations in your chest, usually after eating. This can be worse at night.
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Regurgitation of food or liquids
  • Feeling the sensation of a lump in your throat

Less common symptoms include:

  • Chronic cough
  • Laryngitis
  • New or worsening asthma
  • Disrupted sleep

Acid-reducing medications, known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), are often prescribed to treat GERD. While these medications may help decrease or even stop your heartburn symptoms for now, most people don’t realize that these drugs do not actually stop reflux from happening; they only change the level of acid in your stomach fluid so that you can try to ignore your reflux throughout the day. Over time, the medications can become less effective, and, in some people, they don’t even work at all.

Additionally, a concern for those taking medication for GERD is research showing a significant increase in esophageal cancer cases. Over the last 30 years, esophageal cancer has been the fastest-growing cancer in America. One in every five Americans has at least one risk factor of developing esophageal cancer, and someone is diagnosed every 40 minutes in the United States. The biggest increase in this disease correlates to the use of PPI medications.

Treatment of GERD is the best way to prevent the progression of cancer. The Shannon Reflux Clinic is a multi-disciplinary clinic whose surgeons and GI physicians work closely with patients to find more effective treatments for acid reflux. The clinic offers several long-term solutions to help our patients get off medications and end their painful battle with GERD, including the LINX® procedure.

The LINX® procedure is a simple outpatient surgery that is intended to help people who take reflux medications but still have symptoms, or for people who want to be able to stop their reflux medications completely. It can provide permanent help in treating and preventing GERD symptoms, with 95% of people off medication and reflux-free on the day of the operation.

LINX® is a ring of magnetic, expandable titanium beads the size of a quarter. Using only a few small incisions, the ring is placed around the lower esophagus, close to the stomach opening. Once in place, it helps keep stomach acid out of the esophagus and in the stomach where it belongs. Since it’s expandable, patients are still able to eat normally. It is also the only reflux surgery that still allows you to belch or vomit if needed. LINX® is covered by most insurance providers. Self-referrals are accepted.

Fixing your GERD is the best way to get off your medications permanently, enables you to eat whatever you want, feel better and improve your quality of life at the same time. If you suffer from GERD, discuss your treatment options with a surgeon.

Dr. Michael K. Boyd, Shannon General Surgeon, provides the LINX® procedure in San Angelo. The Shannon Reflux Clinic accepts referrals from all over the state. If you have unresolved reflux, call 325-481-2344 to discuss if LINX® is right for you.