LINX for GERD

Laparoscopic Lower Esophageal Sphincter Augmentation – LINX magnets

There’s a new technique to fight GERD, heartburn, or reflux. These symptoms occur because the lower end of the esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter, is not tight and not creating a high-pressure zone.

In patients without GERD, the esophageal sphincter creates a high-pressure zone so that food and fluid in the stomach doesn’t reflux back into the esophagus. When food refluxes from the stomach, so usually do acid. The reflux gives patients the sensation of burning which occurs behind the sternum- hence, heartburn. Patients also can feel the food reflux up into their chest and sometimes note a sour brash or acrid taste in their mouths. Some patients have a cough or throat pain.

Many people self-medicate for these symptoms, including taking TUMS, Mylanta, and over-the-counter acid reduction meds like Pepcid AC or Prilosec OTC. Other people will see their doctor and get a prescription for an acid-reducing medication like full-strength Prilosec or Nexium. Some patients may also need an upper endoscopy, where a surgeon or a gastroenterologist puts a long tube down the throat that is also a camera, known as an endoscope. This helps look at the inside of the Esophagus, Stomach, and first part of the intestine, the Duodenum, so the procedure is also known as EGD (Esophagogastroduodenoscopy). An EGD helps identify inflammation like esophagitis or gastritis as well as ulcers and hiatal hernia.

There is a naturally occurring hole in our diaphragm called the esophageal hiatus. This hiatus allows the esophagus to pass thru the chest and then into the abdomen. If that hiatus is wider than it should be, the lower esophagus and stomach can move through the diaphragm and into the chest. How much stomach goes into the chest determines the size of the hiatal hernia. But know this, when you have a hiatal hernia, there is no high-pressure zone for your lower esophagus and you will have GERD.

There are several surgical treatments for GERD as well as endoscopic treatments. All treatments involve a fundoplication, meaning that a valve or flap is created to make a high-pressure zone between the stomach and the esophagus. The endoscopic