LINX treats chronic heartburn and reflux

Tasting your food once is great. Tasting it twice … not so much.

For people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), this may be a reality at every meal. Eating can become a constant game of trying to balance eating what you want with avoiding reflux symptoms.

But with new innovations in medicine, you can finally put your GERD symptoms to rest.

“It’s easy to brush off reflux symptoms, especially if they’re consistent—but GERD is a condition that should be taken seriously,” explained Dr. Ryan Horsley, Geisinger bariatric/minimally invasive general surgeon. “If you notice that your GERD symptoms are interfering with your daily life or drastically restricting what you can eat, consider talking with your doctor about treatment options.”

What causes GERD, and why is it a problem?
Heartburn and indigestion are both common conditions. Most people will experience occasional heartburn, often relating to their diet. However, if you experience heartburn symptoms twice a week or more, you may have GERD.

GERD is a severe type of acid reflux disease that is caused by a weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES functions like a trapdoor—when the stomach is empty, it opens and lets food in. Once the stomach is full, the LES closes to stop acid and bile from leaving the stomach.

In people with GERD, the LES is weak and either does not close completely or may open at inappropriate times. As a result, acid and bile can flow back up into the esophagus—especially while laying down.

In the short term, GERD can cause discomfort and frequent heartburn. This can cause difficulty swallowing, wheezing and chest pain.

In the long term, GERD can do more damage.

“While the short-term effects of GERD are mostly discomfort and regurgitation, the long-term effects can lead to permanent damage,” said Dr. Horsley. “GERD can cause esophagitis, Barrett’s esophagus, strictures and even esophageal cancer—all stemming from acid damage to the esophagus. The best way to avoid these conditions is to take steps to reduce and eliminate GERD symptoms.”

A new way to fight GERD
In the past, treating GERD meant altering your sleeping position, carefully monitoring what you eat and keeping a supply of antacid medications close at hand.  

But now, GERD patients can consider LINX, a quarter-sized device that stops reflux.

“LINX does the job of your LES,” explained Dr. Horsley. “It’s implanted around the LES, so there are no alterations to the stomach, unlike with other procedures. LINX is constructed of titanium beads and permanent magnets that contract and relax to let food and gas through but keep acid in—eliminating reflux symptoms and helping your digestive system to do everything people without GERD do. The surgery to implant LINX is minimally invasive, and you’re able to resume your regular diet almost immediately. LINX starts working immediately after surgery, and if needed, LINX can be removed easily.”

LINX is especially useful for people who aren’t having results with acid therapy as well as people who are concerned with taking medications, side effects and constant visits to the pharmacy.

To learn more about LINX, visit their website and talk to your doctor.

Dr. Ryan Horsley, DO, is a bariatric/minimally invasive general surgeon who sees patients at Geisinger Mt. Pleasant in Scranton and Geisinger Mt. Pocono. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Horsley or another LINX specialist at Geisinger, please call 844-703-4262 or visit Geisinger.org.

 

Man clutching chest