Prairie Lakes’ New Acid Reflux Center Offers the Latest in GERD Treatment
Mar 01, 2019 06:00AM
● By Alyssa McGinnis
With the opening of its new Acid Reflux Center, Prairie Lakes Healthcare System in Watertown began offering the LINX System for patients with chronic acid reflux. LINX is a small, flexible ring of magnetic beads placed around a patient’s weak esophageal sphincter.
The beads pull together to strengthen the esophageal sphincter and restore the body’s natural reflux barrier. For eating, swallowing, belching, or vomiting, the beads expand and separate to allow passage. Reflux specialists Dr. Greg Gerrish and Dr. Jacob Schaeffer have been using the system since November.
“About 60 percent of Americans have some degree of reflux,” Dr. Gerrish told MED. In severe cases, the problem can raise the risk of serious problems like Barrett’s esophagus, erosive esophagitis, and even esophageal cancer. “The point of the reflux center is that more can be done for these people,” says Gerrish.
Long-term use of antacids has been linked with kidney disease, dementia, osteoporosis, and C. diff infections. While both doctors acknowledge that traditional Nissen fundoplication still has a role, Dr. Schaeffer, says the new system has some distinct advantages.
“For one, patients don’t have to alter their diet at all. In addition, the lifespace of the device is indefinite since the beads don’t lose their magnetism. And finally, the device can easily be removed if, for some reason, it doesn’t work,” he says.
Laparoscopic placement of the LINX device is relatively simple and recovery is usually quick. - especially when patients follow the recommended swallowing protocol to prevent dysphagia.
Complications, such as erosion into the esophagus, occur in less than one percent of cases. Dr. Schaeffer says people with weak peristalsis do not make good candidates. Otherwise, LINX is an option for most adults with GERD who want to finally get off medication.
“We are really trying to find people with life-limiting problems and steer them toward the best option,” says Dr. Gerrish.
Fewer than five percent of LINX patients go back on antacids within five years.