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A Minimally Invasive Treatment for GERD

If your medication isn’t giving you relief from heartburn, a surgical solution might be for you.

Heartburn is one of the most common complaints in the United States, and millions of people are receiving treatment for the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Along with heartburn, GERD can cause a persistent sore throat, hoarseness, chest pain, pain when swallowing, nausea and more.

There are three primary medicinal treatments for GERD:

  • Antacids – Useful for occasional heartburn, antacids work by neutralizing the acid in the stomach. Name brands for popular antacids include Alka-Seltzer, Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids, Riopan, Tums and Gaviscon.
  • H2RAs – Histamine-2-receptor antagonists, or H2RAs, reduce the amount of acid in the stomach. H2RAs work longer than antacids, but are slower to take effect. Axid, Pepcid and Zantac are among the more popular brands of H2RAs.
  • PPIs – Proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, limit the stomach’s ability to produce acid. They tend to be stronger and more long-lasting than H2RAs. Popular brands of PPIs include Dexilant, Prevacid, Prilosec and Protonix.

Both H2RAs and PPIs are available over-the-counter for short-term use or in prescription strength for longer-term, physician-supervised use. Both medications are also relatively new, and studies are ongoing to determine any health risks from long-term use.

For patients who have not found relief from medicinal therapy or who are concerned about the possible health risks of long-term use of these medications, a minimally invasive surgical solution to GERD is an option.

Carrollton Surgical Group, part of Tanner Health System, offers the LINX Reflux Management System — an outpatient solution that allows a vast majority of patients to achieve normal digestion without the burning of GERD.

Traditional GERD surgery, such as Nissen fundoplication, involved actually changing the anatomy of the stomach, wrapping top part of the stomach around the lower esophagus to reinforce the reflux barrier and make it more difficult for acid to escape the stomach.

However, the LINX Reflux Management System available at Tanner involves placing a band of magnetic beads around the base of the esophagus near the stomach. The attraction of the magnetic beads helps keep the stomach closed, prohibiting acid from rising in the esophagus. The device is designed to not interfere with the patient’s ability to breeze through airport security or receive an MRI, and the magnetized beads are made of titanium to ensure a lifetime of efficacy.

When you swallow or burb, the force pushes the magnetic beads apart and allows food to enter the stomach or gas to leave. The LINX system is implanted in a hospital operating suite, but as an outpatient procedure, patients are discharged home after the procedure.

Studies have shown the LINX system to:

  • Allow complete cessation of PPIs in the vast majority of patients
    • 85 percent of patients were free of daily medication five years after placement.
  • Resolve reflux symptoms in the overwhelming majority of patients
    • 99 percent of patients reported no bothersome heartburn affecting their sleep.
    • 97 percent of patients required no change to their diet due to heartburn.
  • Have a low risk of side effects, resulting in high patient satisfaction

Do you have GERD? Find out if your heartburn is something more with a free online assessment.

If your GERD medication isn’t working for you, ask for a referral from a physician to discuss the surgical solutions available through Tanner and Carrollton Surgical Group. Appointments are available in Carrollton, Villa Rica or Bremen.

Call 678.931.8156 to schedule a consultation or request an appointment.

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