Bracelet-Like Implant to Help Treat Chronic Heartburn

Implant for Heartburn

There’s a new device to help those who suffer from chronic heartburn and need more than medicine to feel relief.

A tiny magnetic bracelet looking device is implanted at the base of the throat to treat the weak muscle that doesn’t close after swallowing food. While heartburn medicine such as, Prilosec can help reduce the acid, it doesn’t fix the problem entirely which is called GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease.

The Linx Reflux Management System device is made by Torax Medical Inc., of St. Paul, Minnesota and was recently approved by the FDA. It’s a ring of titanium beads with magnets inside. Doctors place it around the weak muscle at the base of the esophagus in a half-hour operation using a scope and “keyhole” incisions in the belly.

The ring reinforces the weak muscle to keep it closed, yet is flexible and expands to let food pass when someone swallows, according to a report by Gainesville Sun.

The ring comes in multiple sizes. It is about a half-inch in diameter and expands to about 1.5 inches. The greatest thing of all, people don’t feel it once it is implanted.

The implant device costs $5,000; the operation can run $12,000 to $20,000 depending on hospital charges, said Dr. John Lipham, a surgeon who offers it at the University of Southern California and at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach.

“For the first time, patients in our region have access to relief from their reflux disease through this minimally-invasive procedure which is performed laparoscopically,” said Dr. Buckley, who serves as Director of the Division of General Surgery and Surgical Director of the Heartburn and Acid Reflux Center (HARC) at Scott & White – Round Rock. “While medications remain a popular choice for GERD sufferers, they often don’t control all of the symptoms of GERD, have potential side-effects and can be costly. The device offers a new and innovative alternative to traditional surgery and has excellent results.”

As many as 20 million Americans have GERD. It’s not just a quality-of-life issue: Chronic acid reflux can raise the risk of a condition called Barrett’s esophagus, which in turn can raise the risk of throat cancer.

A study published in the February edition of the New England Journal of Medicine reported that 93 percent of patients that underwent the LINX procedure reported a significant decrease in the need for medication with 100 percent reporting the elimination of severe regurgitation.

The most frequent side effect to the Linx device was difficulty in swallowing, which occurred in 68 percent of patients right after surgery. That percentage dropped to 11 percent after one year and down to 4 percent after three years post-surgery.

Six of the 100 had to have the device removed. In three it was because swallowing problems persisted. Other problems prompted removal in the others.

The device is available in 24 states.

UC San Diego Implants first LINX Device after FDA Approval

UC San Diego Health System’s Dr. Santiago Horgan implanted the first LINX device in the United States following FDA approval. The device is designed to lend relief to people who suffer from Gatroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) or chronic heartburn.

Life-changing Device Helps Heartburn Sufferer

The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) is one of just 13 U.S. surgery sites chosen to offer the LINX™ Reflux Management System, a new implantable magnetic “ring” that promises relief to the estimated 25 million American adults who suffer daily heartburn. The device won FDA-approval in late March.

Bracelet-Like Device Controls Chronic Acid Reflux

C. Daniel Smith, M.D., chair of the Surgery Department at Mayo Clinic in Florida and a specialist in treating reflux disease talks about the latest treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease. It involves a bracelet-like device with magnetic beads, that can control this chronic digestive disorder, commonly referred to as GERD or acid reflux. The device encircles the valve at the junction of the esophagus and stomach and helps it stay closed when a person is not eating or drinking.

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