LINX: A Surgical Option for GERD

Welcome back our series about the Heartburn and Reflux Center at Florida Hospital Altamonte. In this post, we will be talking about what happens when surgery is suggested as a treatment option, and why it’s not as scary as you think.

In some cases, people who are suffering from GERD and heartburn don’t get enough relief from traditional methods like medications and diet and lifestyle changes. Surgery can be the answer. At the Heartburn and Reflux Center at Florida Hospital Altamonte, an innovative technique is providing the relief patients need: LINX, a reflux management system.

It is a relatively simple procedure that places a small, flexible band of magnets around the esophageal sphincter, which is located just above the stomach. A weak esophageal sphincter is often the culprit for serious and repeated GERD and heartburn issues. This magnetic band solves the problem by separating when you swallow so that food and drink can get to the stomach, and then retracting again to close the sphincter. The below figures illustrate the placement (images courtesy the Heartburn and Reflux Center)

This prevents things like stomach acid from coming back up, though patients can still burp and even vomit normally, as the band does not prevent either of those things. Basically, it “[stops] reflux at its source” and provides relief.

LINX surgery is considered minimally-invasive because the entire procedure is done laparoscopically. The magnetic band itself is about the size of a quarter, so this procedure restores normal esophageal function without the need to reconstruct anything, as in some alternate surgeries for the same illness. Lengthy hospital stays aren’t needed, and most people are up and around very quickly, enjoying foods and drinks they hadn’t been able to enjoy for a long time.

The doctors and medical professionals at the center will help you determine if LINX is right for your specific needs. LINX, according to the manufacturer, is “intended for patients diagnosed with reflux disease who continue to suffer symptoms despite taking medication.” If you think you might be a good candidate for LINX or if you simply have questions and want to learn more about it, contact the center and speak to their team of experts.