Pros and Cons of the Linx Surgery

Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), or reflux of acid from the stomach into the esophagus, can cause symptoms like burning, pain in the chest, a cough that is dry, and throat irritation. 

Nearly 20 million Americans seek medical treatment for GERD. Even though surgery has been available for decades, many patients with GERD still use medication to manage their condition.

On the other hand, over-the-counter medicine doesn't work for the underlying problem. Even though the acid from the stomach is neutralized, it still comes up. Surgical management is the only way to stop this from happening altogether.

A new laparoscopic procedure to treat GERD is called LINX®. Metal beads are used in this procedure which is done by using a magnet to draw them together. By placing the magnet around the lower esophagus, this string closes off the opening in the lower esophagus and thus prevents the stomach contents from escaping. Upon swallowing, the beads separate so that food can pass into the stomach. In order to prevent acid from getting up into the esophagus, the magnet is then used to draw the beads back together.

LINX has an extremely high success rate. It has been observed that 90 to 95 percent of patients who undergo this procedure are able to stop taking their medications completely; the remaining 5 to 10 percent rarely take any medication. In addition, this procedure has several advantages over previous approaches to GERD treatment. Typically, this procedure results in rapid recovery with patients going home the same day. The LINX procedure encourages patients to begin eating right away after surgery, whereas previous approaches have required patients to follow a liquid diet for up to two weeks following surgery.

Pros and Cons of the Linx Surgery

Pain medication may be prescribed by the doctor after surgery. The pain usually subsides after a few days, so you can resume normal activities. It will take at least three weeks or more before you can lift heavy weights or exercise strenuously. A small percentage of Linx patients still need to take medications after the procedure. Linx devices cannot undergo an MRI due to the risk of damage to the implanted device.

The Linx device may cause problems when a person gains weight since it puts pressure on the stomach. The Linx price is between $3,500 to $5,000. The procedure is not suitable for those who have undergone bariatric or esophageal surgery. To determine if the surgery is right for a given patient, tests are often performed. 

Pros of the Linx Surgery

The recovery time is quicker and less painful than other procedures.  This device is unaffected by burping and vomiting. When issues arise, the device can easily be removed or reversed. Many patients can resume their normal diets without delay. The procedure usually does not require patients to take medications afterward. Patients typically experience a reduction in gas, bloating, and heartburn after the procedure.

Cons of the Linx Surgery

Since it is a new procedure, it hasn't been extensively tested to determine whether it is effective or not. After the procedure, there is often pain in the stomach, difficulty swallowing and bloating.  The risk of infection is always present. In addition, the surgery is often expensive compared to other reflux procedures. However, some insurance companies cover this procedure and others do not. Be sure to verify whether your insurance covers the procedure before you undergo it. The cost of surgery depends on the surgeon and where you live.

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