About the Linx Procedure
Why I chose to have the Linx procedure:
I chose to have the Linx procedure for many reasons. Mainly my quality of life is pretty bad, I’m on a lot of medication to help but still I have awful symptoms, I also don’t want to be on medication for the rest of my life. Another reason is that untreated acid reflux means your oesophagus gets exposed stomach acid, a lot. This can cause barrett’s oesophagus which is a precancerous condition. Most importantly, if the procedure works it can last a lifetime, if not the device can be removed.
About The Procedure:
The Linx procedure is a minimally invasive procedure which is most commonly done laparoscopically. A small bracelet of magnets is placed around the lower oesophageal sphincter. The doctor uses scopes to see inside the abdomen and a tool is pushed in next to the scope so only a few small cuts are needed. Then the Linx bracelet is placed around the bottom of the gullet.
The Linx Bracelet will be placed around the Lower Oesophageal Sphincter.
Benefits of the Linx Procedure:
- Reduction in acid exposure to your oesophagus
- Improvement in heartburn and regurgitation symptoms
- Reduction or elimination of GERD medications
- Less invasive surgery compared to the standard surgical treatment for GERD
- Ability to resume a normal diet following surgery
- Discharge the same day or the next day after surgery
- Minimal side effects, such as being unable to belch or vomiting
- Pain 24% (Managed by pain medication and pain subsided 3 months post op)
- Stomach Bloating 14% (mild to moderate and resolved in all patients)
- Painful swallowing – 8%
- Hiccups – 8%
- Nausea – 7%
- Inability to belch or vomit – 6%
- Decreased Appetite – 4%
- Increased belching – 2%
- Flatulence – 2%
- Weight loss – 2%
- Vomiting – 1%
- Food impaction – 1% (Food getting stuck behind the Linx device)
- Lump in throat – 1%
- Upset stomach or indigestion – 1%
- Regurgitation of sticky mucus – 1%
- Uncomfortable feeling in chest – 1%
- Vomiting – 1%
- Difficulty swallowing in 68%. This was treated with dilation or device removal in 3% of patients. Before and after treatment patients completed a questionnaire that included a question about difficulty swallowing before treatment 69% reported no symptoms compared to 55% at 6 months and 64% at 1 year and 59% at 2 years. The average number of times patients experienced difficulty swallowing was 1 to 2 times per week.
- Achalasia (muscles of the esophagus fail to relax during swallowing)
- Device erosion (device passes through esophagus wall)
- Device failure
- Device migration (device does not appear to be at implant site)
- Device removal or re-operation
- Oesophageal spasm
- Impaired gastric motility (ability to move food/liquid through your system)
- Injury to the oesophagus, spleen, or stomach
- Organ damage caused by device migration
- Peritonitis (inflammation of the thin tissue that lines the inner wall of the abdomen)
- Pneumothorax (collapsed lung)
- Worsening of preoperative symptoms (including but limited to difficulty swallowing or heartburn)
The device is a permanent implant, and limited long-term experience is available. Sustainability of effect, as assessed by quality of life scores, has not been studied past 2 years. It is possible that the device may need to be removed or replaced at a later time (for example, in 10 years). If the device fails or breaks, your GERD symptoms may return or you may experience unusual pain.
90% of patients reported improvement in GERD symptoms or elimination of GERD medications in a clinical study at 1 and 2 years after treatment. Every patient is different. There are no guarantees you will have the same results. It is possible you may need to continue GERD medications after treatment.
MRI of 1.5 Tesla is allowed, but MRIs greater than 1.5 Tesla are not allowed with the current Linx device.
The Linx System has not been studied in patients with hiatal hernias greater than 3 cm in size, Barrett’s oesophagus, advanced oesophagitis (inflammation of the oesophagus), swallowing difficulties, or motility disorders. Please discuss your medical history with your doctor to determine if you have any conditions for which the Linx System is not recommended.
The Linx System is not the only option available. The standard surgical treatment for GERD is the Nissen fundoplication. Your doctor will discuss this option and other options available to you, which may include treatments performed by endoscopy such as radio frequency applications to the sphincter area and endoscopic sewing devices that sew part of the stomach to the oesophagus.
Other treatments performed in the area of lower oesophagus may not be possible or will need careful consideration if the Linx System is present. These treatments may include surgical or endoscopic interventions for weight loss, Barrett’s oesophagus or GERD.