June 11, 2013
A new minimally invasive procedure to treat GERD and chronic reflux is now available at Garden Park Medical Center. Acid reflux, heartburn and indigestion are all forms of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD and affect roughly 18 million people in the United States on a daily basis. The LINX Reflux Management System is currently the only available device for the treatment of GERD approved by the FDA.
Donald Balder, M.D., F.A.C.S., an advanced laparoscopic surgeon at Garden Park Medical Center, is the only surgeon in South Mississippi, and one of only three in the state, trained to perform the LINX Procedure. Individuals who experience mild or infrequent GERD can usually take medication to bring it under control, however, those who suffer with chronic reflux have found that long term use of these drugs is not optimal. Over time reflux can lead to very serious health problems including Barretts’ esophagus which increases the chances of developing esophageal cancer.
“Patients who suffer with severe GERD, have a weak lower esophageal sphincter that allows stomach acid and bile to reflux into the esophagus. Over time the patient experiences severe pain, discomfort and a number of complications. Until now, we have not had many good options to offer patients who agonize with this terrible disease”, said Dr. Balder.
The LINX® is a small, flexible device designed to minimize and even eliminate the symptoms of GERD. Comprised of a titanium ring of magnetic beads, LINX® is placed around the lower esophageal sphincter to reinforce its normal function. Through a minimally-invasive technique called laparoscopy, Dr. Balder uses a precision sizing tool to determine the appropriate size of ring to use on each patient. The LINX® device is then positioned around the lower esophageal sphincter and the ends are secured together. The minimally invasive procedure generally lasts less than an hour and once in place, LINX begins working immediately.
“In some cases, patients with GERD cannot find relief from traditional, nonsurgical treatment options. This minimally invasive LINX Procedure offers a highly adaptable treatment option for GERD by addressing the source of reflux – a weak lower esophageal sphincter. I’m thrilled to offer this procedure to patients who need a permanent solution to this disease and want to get back to a healthy GERG-free lifestyle,” says Dr. Balder.
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