A new FDA approved device is available for GERD sufferers in SWFL.

By Peter Denk, MD, FACS

GERD sufferersWhat is GERD?
GERD or reflux disease is a very common disease of the digestive system. It is caused by a weak lower esophageal sphincter or LES. The LES is a ring of muscle that connects the esophagus to the stomach. It acts as a gatekeeper, opening to allow food to pass into the stomach and then closing to prevent the contents of the stomach (food, acid and other secretions) from refluxing into the esophagus. Because the lining of the esophagus is easily irritated by the contents of the stomach, reflux causes heartburn and other symptoms of GERD.

Symptoms of GERD include:
• Heartburn
• Acid regurgitation
• Hot sensation in the stomach
• Excess salivation
• Difficulty or painful swallowing

Facts about GERD:
• 10-15% of the adult population suffers from daily GERD (approx. 15 million).
• Incidence of GERD rises rapidly after 40 years of age.
• Most GERD worsens over time. Early prevention can prevent further deterioration of the natural barrier to reflux.
• Esophageal cancer is 8x more likely to occur in patients with weekly heartburn or regurgitation

The Linx® Reflux Management System:
GI Surgical Specialists is pleased to be the first practice in Southwest Florida to offer the LINX® Reflux Management System. LINX® is an FDA approved device that is implanted laparoscopically to treat GERD symptoms. This new option provides a minimally invasive surgical treatment with proven clinical benefits and without the side effects of traditional surgery.

LINX® is a small, flexible band of magnets enclosed in titanium beads. The magnetic attraction between the beads helps keep a weak esophageal sphincter closed to prevent reflux. LINX® is the only FDA approved device to treat Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.

The device is implanted around the weak sphincter just above the stomach in a minimally invasive procedure that typically takes less than one hour. Placement of the LINX® System does not involve significant alterations to anatomy and can be removed during a laparoscopic procedure similar to the implant procedure. Patients are placed under general anesthesia and unlike the Nissen Fundoplication, patients are started on a solid diet soon after the procedure. After surgery, patients usually return home the same day.

Clinical study results showed after LINX treatment:
• 91% of patients achieved freedom from daily GERD medication
• 92% of patients achieved significant symptom improvement
• 100% of patients eliminated severe regurgitation
• 99% of patients eliminated daily sleep disruption due to heartburn
• 94% of patients were satisfied with their overall condition

Results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Patients should consider Laparoscopic
Reflux Surgery when:
• Conservative and medication-based therapies no longer control GERD symptoms
• Despite medication treatment, GERD is causing developing complications
• Unusual GERD symptoms such as asthma, sinus problems and chronic cough are uninhibited
• Long term medication therapy is not cost effective or conducive with a patient’s lifestyle.

The LINX® Reflux Management System provides a new opportunity for patients who are dissatisfied with their current anti-reflux regimen. One that combines the benefits of traditional laparoscopic surgery while minimizing the potential risks by taking advantage of new technology. Contact us today to discuss your options for GERD treatment.

GI Surgical Specialists
Ft Myers Office
13710 Metropolis Ave. #101
Fort Myers, FL 33912

Naples Office
8340 Collier Blvd. Suite 205
Naples, FL 34114

(239) 313-7522

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