If you have been diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as GERD, and you have heartburn or regurgitation in spite of taking medications that treat GERD, you might be a candidate for the LINX® Reflux Management System.

Linx DeviceJon Gould, MD, chief of general surgery at Froedtert & the Medical College, was part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel that recommended approval of the LINX device. Dr. Gould calls the device a "game-changer" in the treatment of acid reflux.

What is LINX and how does it work?

LINX-for-GERDLINX is a medical device implanted with a minimally invasive surgical procedure using small incisions. LINX uses a small, flexible band of beads designed to help keep the sphincter closed and stop reflux. Reflux occurs when the sphincter between the stomach and esophagus is weak, allowing acid, bile and other digestive juices to back up or ‘reflux’ into the esophagus.

The beads in the band each have a magnet inside. When looped around the exterior of the esophagus, the magnetic attraction between the beads helps the sphincter remain closed enough to prevent reflux. However, swallowing breaks the magnetic bond, so food and liquids can pass as usual to the stomach.

Implanting LINX doesn’t require significant changes to internal structures, so it doesn’t limit future treatment. It can also be removed without damage to the esophagus.

What is recovery like?

After the LINX device is in place, patients can usually go home the same day or the next day. They can also resume a normal diet (as long as it’s well tolerated) after the surgery. Patients can usually return to mild activities a few days after surgery. As with any surgery, patients should consult with the surgeon regarding any post-surgery care, diet or activities.

How effective is LINX?

In a multi-center, two-year study of 100 patients:

  • 90 percent of patients experienced a reduction in total acid exposure time
  • 93 percent of patients achieved at least a 50 percent reduction in GERD-HRQL score
  • 92 percent of patients eliminated daily dependence on PPIs
  • Percent of patients reporting moderate to severe regurgitation dropped from 57 percent to 1 percent

What about side effects?

Because implanting LINX does not change the structure of the esophagus or other nearby organs, side effects such as difficulty belching, bloating and swallowing are less of a problem than with surgeries that wrap stomach tissue around the esophagus to prevent reflux.

Is LINX an Option for You?

LINX may be an option for you if you are older than 21 and have GERD that is unresolved, even with taking medications to treat the condition. Patients who have suspected or known allergies to certain metals – titanium, stainless steel, nickel or ferrous materials – are not candidates for the LINX procedure.

Learn more

To learn more, or make an appointment, call 414-777-7700. Learn more about the Medical College of Wisconsin Division of General Surgery.

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Froedtert Hospital is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as high performing in three adult specialties and 16 procedures and conditions, including gastroenterology and GI surgery.

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