Heartburn is a common ailment typically treated with over-the-counter antacids. However, as many as 10 to 40 percent of patients with severe heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may not respond to proton pump inhibitors (PPI). Proton pump inhibitors, prescription drugs that suppress the amount of acid the stomach produces, can be an effective treatment for GERD, but for many, surgery is the best option.
At Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, laparoscopic and robotic surgery to repair hiatal hernia and fundoplication have long been available to patients with severe GERD. Now, a third option—the LINX Reflux Management System—is giving patients another reason to hope for an improved quality of life.
“The LINX system is a minimally invasive treatment option for certain patients with severe heartburn or GERD,” explains bariatric surgeon Thomas C. Tsai, MD, MPH. “Simply put, it’s an external magnet sphincter that prevents acid reflux.”
The LINX Reflux Management System is a small flexible band of magnetic beads about the size of a quarter that wraps around the lower esophageal sphincter. Rather than stop the production of acid in the stomach, the magnetic device addresses the underlying anatomic cause of GERD by preventing acid from rising up into the esophagus. Because the LINX is magnetic, it can open to allow food to enter the stomach and close afterwards to prevent stomach contents from rising back up, just as a healthy lower esophageal sphincter would.
Dr. Tsai recently performed the first LINX procedure at Brigham and Women’s Falkner Hospital, with favorable early results. “With the LINX procedure, patients can eat normally almost immediately after surgery. Recovery from LINX is much faster, and I’m thrilled we are now able to offer it in addition to traditional surgical procedures for GERD. We can now fully tailor the treatment options for patients and offer them the full suite of minimally invasive options at Brigham and Women’s Falkner Hospital.”
Dr. Tsai, who performed the LINX procedure in collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Falkner Hospital’s Director of Bariatric and Anti-Reflux Surgery David Spector, MD, credits the innovative culture at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital with bringing this effective treatment option to his patients. “Brigham and Women’s Falkner Hospital combines the expertise of Brigham and Women’s surgeons with the comforts and familiarity of a community hospital to provide world-class care for our patients with heartburn.”
Looking for more news from BWFH? Go to News to find articles about health, updates to our programs and services and stories about staff and patients.
Go to News