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LINX Reflux Management

 

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a chronic, often progressive disease resulting from a weak Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES). The LINX® Reflux Management System augments the weak LES, restoring the body's natural barrier to reflux.

 

A patient suffering with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) normally experiences frequent heartburn, regurgitation and/or nausea in the mid-chest region. This can cause severe discomfort and negatively impact the patient's quality of daily life.

 

If you are a reflux patient, 21 years of age or older, who still experiences significant GERD-related symptoms despite taking medication(s), you may be interested in the LINX® Reflux Management System.

 

GERD results from a weak Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES). The weak LES allows acid and bile to reflux from the stomach into the esophagus. The LINX System is designed to augment the LES, with the aim of restoring the body's natural barrier to reflux.

 

LINX provides an option for patients who are taking acid-suppressing drugs (i.e. Prevacid®, Nexium®, Prilosec®, etc.) but are not getting their desired results. These types of medications help control acid build-up, but they cannot repair the underlying problem.

 

What is LINX?

The LINX Reflux Management System (developed by Torax Medical, Inc.**) is a permanent, drug-free treatment for GERD that consists of a small flexible band of interlinked magnetized titanium beads wrapped around the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) located at the base of the esophagus. This band helps prevent gastric acids from pushing back up into the esophagus from the stomach, yet also safely allows the LES to open when required to allow for easy swallowing.

 

When a person with the LINX system installed swallows, the motion of food or drink passing through the lower esophagus overcomes the magnetic attraction between the beads permitting the contents to pass through the LES into the stomach.

When the stomach reacts and reflux tries to escape up the esophagus (which would then result in the pain associated with heartburn), the magnetic beads keep the acid down in the same manner as a normally functioning LES. This procedure can help patients return to a normal lifestyle unaffected by their GERD.

 

Procedure Details

The patient is sedated using anesthesia and the LINX device is implanted around the lower esophageal sphincter just above the stomach, using a common surgical technique known as laparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgery that allows operations within the abdomen area through a series of small incisions.

 

In order to select the right size for the LINX device, the esophagus must first be measured. This is achieved by placing a necklace-like tool around the esophageal tube at the LES and measuring the diameter to get the best fit. The measurement necklace is then removed and the LINX device implanted, making sure the ends of the band are aligned and securely linked.

 

The LINX System does not require any anatomic alteration of the stomach. In most cases, patients can return home the same day as the procedure.

 

Benefits for Patients

Reduction in acid exposure to the esophagus

Improvement in heartburn and regurgitation symptoms

Reduction or elimination of GERD medications

Less invasive surgery compared to the standard surgical treatment for GERD

Ability to resume a normal diet following surgery

Discharge the same day or the next day after surgery

Minimal side effects, such as being unable to belch or vomit

 

 

Risks

As can be expected, the LINX procedure comes with the same risks (i.e. bleeding, infection, difficulty with anesthesia, etc.) as many other surgical procedures. The physician should explain all possible risks associated with this procedure during the consultation visit. If the patient does end up experiencing an adverse response to the device, it can be removed.

 

NOTE:  After having the LINX procedure, some patients will be unable to have an MRI performed. Please see FAQs for more in-depth important information concerning MRI safety with the LINX device.

 

Do I Qualify?

 

You may be a candidate for the LINX procedure if:

 

Medication has not been successful treating your GERD symptoms

Lifestyle and diet changes have not provided you much relief

Persistent symptoms severely affect your quality of life

You would prefer to stop taking medication(s) to manage your gastric reflux

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: How long does the LINX procedure take to perform?

On average, the procedure lasts about one hour, but can vary depending on the condition of the patient.

 

Q. When can I start eating normally again?

Patients are encouraged to return to a normal diet as quickly as tolerated. This helps the body adapt to the LINX® Reflux Management System.

 

Q. When can I return to normal physical activities?

Generally, patients are able to return to non-strenuous activity within a couple of days, however, as with any surgical procedure, you should consult your physician regarding post-operative care.

 

Q: Will I still have to take any heartburn medication(s)?

Clinical trials have shown that only about 10% of all patients resume taking any heartburn medicines in long-term follow-up.

 

Q: Will the magnets wear out?

The LINX Reflux Management System uses permanent magnets that are designed never to wear out.

 

Q: Will the device ever have to be removed?

The intention for LINX is that it is a permanent solution for GERD. However, at this time, 10-year studies are not available and the answer is unknown. If the device does need to be removed at a later date, it can be done with a similar surgical procedure.

 

Q. Can I have an MRI test after receiving the LINX Reflux Management System?

There are two versions of the LINX® device. One is safe in MRI scanning machines up to 0.7T, the other is safe to 1.5T. You should discuss the MRI scanning options with your doctor prior to deciding on treatment with the LINX® system. Please visit linxforlife.com for additional information.

 

Q: Can I still go through security at an airport?

Just like having a pacemaker or artificial hip, you will be given a card that shows you have a medically implanted device.

 

Q: Will my insurance company pay for LINX?

This will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

 

 

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