You've seen the commercials and you've heard the guarantees. You've tried the remedies and you've waited for results. Despite your efforts, your acid reflux still casts a looming, painful presence over your life. You may think there are no options left and this agonizing condition is a permanent fixture. If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a new way to fight and win your reflux battle is now available at Shannon—the LINX® procedure.
What is GERD?
The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is the body's natural reflux barrier. When functioning properly, the reflux barrier opens to allow you to swallow, and closes to prevent stomach acid from traveling up the esophagus. When you have GERD—20 percent of the population does—the reflux barrier is weak and allows the harmful acid to flow back into your esophagus.
Several common symptoms of GERD are heartburn, regurgitation, nausea and chronic chest pain.
Acid-reducing medications, known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), are often prescribed to treat GERD. These medicines might make you feel better, but we are learning that medication might not be the best solution to GERD. Medications will only treat the symptoms of reflux by making the stomach acid less acidic, but they do not treat the reflux itself. Even with medication, your symptoms can worsen, and the medication might become less and less effective over time.
Another area of concern for those taking medication for GERD is research showing a significant increase in esophageal cancer cases. Esophageal cancer is the fastest growing cancer in America over the last 30 years, and the biggest increase correlates to the use of PPI medications.
The LINX procedure
When medication therapy is ineffective, or if you are interested in stopping these potentially dangerous pills, LINX may be the next step for permanent GERD relief. LINX is a ring of magnetic, expandable titanium beads the size of a quarter. During the laparoscopic procedure, the ring is implanted around the LES, close to the stomach opening.
The minimally invasive procedure does not require a hospital stay and patients can eat a regular diet the same day. Afterward, 90 percent of patients are completely off all reflux medication within a year. It has also been proven to be much safer than every other reflux surgery currently available, with over 6,000 successful cases performed around the world. The LINX is strong enough to constrict the LES, closing the passageway to keep stomach acid down. The added benefit, especially compared to traditional anti-reflux surgery, is that the ring is weak enough to open up when you perform normal bodily functions such as swallowing or vomiting.
If you suffer from GERD, call the Shannon Reflux Clinic to set up an appointment and discuss your options with a surgeon. The Shannon Reflux Clinic is a multi-disciplinary clinic. Surgeons and GI physicians work together to manage your reflux with medications or surgery. LINX may be the right option for you.
LINX is covered by most insurance providers. Self-referrals are accepted. For more information, call 325.658.1511.