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A New, Minimally Invasive Treatment for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

March 7, 2018

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease also known as chronic acid reflux or GERD, has become a significant national health crisis. Most people wait too long to seek treatment, and in doing so, suffer silently as acid backs up into their esophagus, causing significant discomfort. Over time, this can lead to cellular changes in the esophagus known as Barrett’s Esophagus, which in rare cases, can lead to esophageal cancer– one of the fastest growing cancers the United States.

While the frontline treatment for gastroesophageal reflux is lifestyle change, not every patient is compliant. Therefore, most patients will end up on one of several possible medication options, including antacids which neutralize stomach acid, or proton pump inhibitors – PPIs, which limit the production of acid. In both cases, however, these therapies do not address the underlying issue; they simply treat the symptoms. Therefore, when a patient stops their medication, the discomfort will return. Other than the side effects of medication, patients also have to be aware that medication can become less effective over time, requiring additional dosage or the change of therapies.

To date, the gold standard in curative GERD treatment was a minimally invasive procedure known as fundoplication. This is where the upper part of the stomach is wrapped around the lower part of the esophagus to create compression. While very effective, fundoplication is major surgery and comes with certain risks.

Winthrop Surgical Associates is proud to introduce a new, minimally invasive GERD treatment device known as LINX. Shaped like a bracelet, the LINX device is composed of a series of titanium beads with a magnetic clasp. The device is wrapped around the Lower Esophageal Sphincter at the base of the esophagus and provides compression to minimize the amount acid that can reflux back into the esophagus. The magnetic clasp gives the device just enough flexibility to allow food and drink to pass through the esophagus and into the stomach unimpeded.

Much like other GERD treatments, such as fundoplication and the endoscopic Stretta procedure, LINX has some risks and considerations to be discussed during your consultation. However, with the introduction of this new device, patients now have three distinct options to choose from when addressing their chronic reflux issues. We look forward to discussing these options with you.