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University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center debuts new procedure to treat acid reflux

Thursday, June 6, 2013

LINX Reflux Management System is less invasive, offers patients quicker recovery

GEAUGA COUNTY – In May 2013, University Hospitals (UH) Geauga Medical Center became the first hospital in Northeast Ohio to offer the LINX Reflux Management System. The new, FDA-approved surgical procedure provides patients suffering from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) with a more effective, less invasive treatment option that enables a quicker recovery and faster return to a solid-food diet compared to other surgeries.

Conneaut resident Wilma Kern, 61, was one of the first patients to have the LINX procedure at the UH Digestive Health Institute at UH Geauga Medical Center. “I suffered with acid reflux for years to the point where the medications stopped working,” says Kern. “No matter what I ate, I always had heartburn and the acid was burning my esophagus. I was never able to sleep through the night.”

“The LINX procedure is for people with a lower esophageal sphincter dysfunction that causes it to open when it’s not supposed to,” says Leena Khaitan, MD, MPH, Director, Bariatric and Minimally Invasive Surgery, UH Geauga Medical Center. “The LINX is an implant – a string of magnetic, removable beads placed around the sphincter at the base of the esophagus. The beads are connected by a wire and they move individually with the function of the esophagus. It’s a dynamic system that opens and closes around the sphincter, almost like an elastic band. There is less risk compared to other GERD surgeries, and the outcomes have been outstanding.”

“Dr. Khaitan told me I was a candidate for the LINX, and I decided it was the way I wanted to go,” says Kern. “The night after the surgery was the first time in years that I slept through the night. I was able to go home and start on soft foods the next day. Within days I was back on solid food and within two weeks I was cleared to resume a regular diet and normal activities. I have no heartburn, no regurgitation, no acid, no sore throat. I have no dietary restrictions. I had five small incisions and they’re totally healed. My acid reflux is a vague memory.”

Unlike other surgical treatments of GERD, placement of the LINX System does not require major alterations to the internal anatomy which may limit future treatment options.

“I’m very pleased with my experience at UH Geauga Medical Center and I would strongly recommend the LINX procedure,” says Kern. “I’m looking forward to summer and all the food I can eat now that I couldn’t before. I’m ready!”

If you suffer from GERD, learn if you are a candidate for the LINX Reflux Management System by calling the UH Digestive Health Institute at UH Geauga Medical Center at 440-285-6476.

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