LINX System for reflux disease (GERD)

Almost everyone suffers the occasional bout of heartburn or reflux. But when it becomes chronic, leads to problems swallowing, chest pain, chronic cough and/or sore throat, it's time to see your doctor. Left untreated gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD can cause serious problems such as Barrett's esophagus, a pre-cancerous condition.

The LINX System is a minimally invasive surgical option for patients who:

  • Have severe, debilitating heartburn not helped by proton-pump inhibitors (PPI, a medication to reduce the production of gastric acid)
  • Have incomplete control of symptoms or increasing symptoms with PPI therapy
  • Experience significant side effects with PPI therapy
  • Don't want the more traditional Nissen fundoplication surgical procedure to strengthen the barrier that normally prevents reflux

The anatomy of GERD

Between the stomach and esophagus is a barrier called the lower esophageal sphincter or LES. The LES opens to allow food to pass into the stomach and then closes to keep stomach contents from backing up into the esophagus.

For some people, abnormal relaxation of the LES causes GERD. It may be caused or aggravated by alcohol or caffeine, spicy and high-fat food, smoking, pregnancy, obesity, some medications or a medical condition such as a hernia.

About the LINX System

Gundersen is one of a few medical centers nationwide to pioneer a procedure for treating GERD called the LINX System. It uses a ring of interlinked titanium beads with magnetic cores. The ring is placed around the lower esophageal sphincter. Natural swallowing action temporarily breaks the magnetic attraction, allowing food and liquid to pass into the stomach. The magnetic bond between the beads help close the LES immediately after swallowing, restoring the body's natural barrier to reflux.

Benefits of LINX

  • There is no anatomical change to the stomach as with Nissen fundoplication
  • It is potentially reversible
  • LINX doesn't disqualify patients from other gastroesophageal surgeries, if needed
  • For most patients it's a same-day, minimally-invasive, laparoscopic procedure, using general anesthesia
  • Patients can eat solid foods right away
  • Minimizes gas-bloat syndrome
  • Unlike PPI therapy, it addresses the primary source of this disease, an incompetent LES

If you have unresolved GERD, call (608) 775-2331 to discuss if LINX is right for you.

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