Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - Community Healthcare - 53

When LINX's small band of magnetic beads is positioned around the
patient's esophagus at the lower muscle
or sphincter, it acts as a natural barrier
to reflux and helps to eliminate gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.
"The LINX device, which is implanted
laparoscopically, offers another minimally invasive alternative to traditional
surgery and does not require reconfiguration of the stomach," says Pellar.
"While medication remains a popular
choice for patients suffering from GERD,
for some the symptoms and side effects
can be painful."
GERD is caused by reflux and regurgitation of stomach acid into the esophagus. In normal swallowing, a valve
between the esophagus and stomach
opens to allow food to pass into the
stomach then closes to prevent reflux of
the food back into the esophagus. For
those with GERD, this valve is weakened
or absent, allowing the acidic digestive juices to flow back (or reflux) into
the esophagus.
GERD is typically treated with medications called proton pump inhibitors
(PPIs). PPIs can lose their effectiveness over time, requiring progressively higher dosing. Research shows
that of the approximately 30 million
Americans who are diagnosed with
chronic GERD and are dependent on

daily medications, 20 to 40 percent are
not satisfied with PPIs.
Up until now, laparoscopic Nissen
fundoplication had been considered the
standard surgical approach for treatment
of severe GERD. During the procedure,
also called a complete fundoplication, the
upper part of the stomach is wrapped
360 degrees around the entire lower end
of the esophagus and stitched in place
permanently, reinforcing the closing function of the lower esophageal sphincter.
During the LINX procedure, instead
of the stomach being altered, a titanium
ring-shaped device is positioned around
the neck of the lower esophagus just
above the stomach. The device's magnetic beads constrict to prevent acid
from escaping out of the stomach while
allowing the patient to eat and swallow normally.
"LINX sounded like a better option
for me," says Brack. "I'm pretty excited

about it. I think that we have some
really good care out here in Northwest
Indiana and I try to stay close to home.
I am really happy with Dr. Pellar and
could definitely feel a difference in my
esophagus right away. Everything is staying down. I think it is very cool that he is
learning new ways to do things. Between
Drs. Sardesai, Chang and Pellar, I have
a really great team. I don't think I would
get better care anywhere else."
The minimally invasive procedure is
performed on an outpatient basis and
typically takes about an hour to complete, minimizing recovery time and risks
to the patient. Patients can resume a
normal diet the same night as the procedure, according to Pellar.
The device does not affect airport
security, and patients with LINX can still
have an MRI. Unlike Nissen fundoplication, the LINX device can be removed
and the procedure is reversible. ■

Surgeon Russell Pellar, MD,
holds the LINX device.

WEBSITE

GERD Got You
Feeling Down?
For more information about
LINX and minimally invasive
procedures to help relieve
GERD, visit comhs.org.

SUMME R 2018

53


http://www.comhs.org

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Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - Community Healthcare - Contents
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