Thursday, August 27, 2015
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic condition that causes heartburn, chest pain, regurgitation and a myriad of other issues from the mouth to the stomach. GERD occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) fails to close properly, allowing the stomach’s contents to creep back into the esophagus causing these health problems.
For years, those suffering from GERD were limited to medications to reduce or suppress the amount of acid produced in the stomach. For long progressing and end-stage cases, a stomach-altering surgery called Nissen fundoplication was the best option. This surgery is safe and effective, but can have some complications such as “gas bloat syndrome” and lead to trouble swallowing.
The LINX system, approved by the FDA in August of 2014, is designed to assist those in the early stages of GERD and to prevent it from progressing. Aurora BayCare general and bariatric surgeon Daniel T. McKenna is one of the original users of LINX and has been implanting them for some time.
“LINX is an effective way to prevent the progression of GERD, especially when compared to considering a Nissen. It’s a safe procedure and we’ve seen consistently positive outcomes with its use,” said Dr. McKenna. “For those people having the option of LINX surgery versus the Nissen, the LINX procedure is equally effective with fewer complications.”
The system is innovative, yet simple. The LINX component is a series of strung, flexible titanium beads implanted laparoscopically around the LES to aid proper sphincter function and prevent reflux. The magnetic beads flex to allow normal swallowing of food or liquid, yet are flexible enough to allow for belching and vomiting, when necessary.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, GERD affects about 20 percent of the American population. Yet Dr. McKenna knows the LINX procedure isn’t for everyone, “I think it is important to know that this is an augmentation of medical therapy and intended to prevent the progression of GERD. It is not intended to replace the Nissen procedure,” McKenna said. “People with large hiatal hernias, morbid obesity or end stage GERD are not good candidates for this surgery.”
Dr. McKenna performs the LINX procedure at Aurora BayCare Medical Center, 2845 Greenbrier Road, Green Bay.
If you are suffering from reflux disease and are curious to know if you are a candidate for LINX surgery, call 920-288-8250 to make an appointment or you can request an appointment online here.