Breakthrough Surgical Treatment Option for Acid Reflux Disease Now Available at Jefferson Hospital

Jefferson Hospital, a part of the Allegheny Health Network

The LINX system is designed to reinforce the lower esophageal sphincter, which acts like a trap door between the esophagus and stomach. This procedure can lead to a dramatic improvement in the patient’s quality of life.

People in the South Hills of Pittsburgh and lower Mon Valley suffering from a common digestive disorder now have a groundbreaking minimally invasive treatment option available to them closer to home. Surgeons at Allegheny Health Network’s (AHN) Jefferson Hospital this summer started offering the novel LINX Management System for patients who have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), better known as acid reflux. Studies have shown that LINX can greatly reduce the symptoms and risks from GERD.

The procedure became the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved, non-medical surgical therapy for GERD five years ago. LINX offers an alternative to daily medications for the chronic disease in which acid or other stomach contents back up in the esophagus, the tube connecting the mouth and stomach. GERD is caused by a weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a valve-like muscle that regulates the passage of food and liquid from the esophagus into the stomach.

When gastric juices flow back into the esophagus, it can be severely damaged and lead to a host of unpleasant symptoms for the patient. Heartburn is the most common of these symptoms, along with chest pain, regurgitation, sore throat, and chronic cough. According to the American Gastroenterology Association, it is estimated that more than 60 million Americans experience symptomatic GERD at least once a month, and 15 million suffer from it daily.

“The LINX system is designed to reinforce the lower esophageal sphincter, which acts like a trap door between the esophagus and stomach,” explained Tunc Aksehirli, MD, a Jefferson Hospital general surgeon who performed the first LINX procedure at the hospital. “With a strengthened LES, we can eliminate the reflux. This relatively simple procedure can lead to a dramatic improvement in the patient’s quality of life.”

Similar in appearance to a watch or bracelet, the LINX system consists of a small, flexible band of magnets…

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