Clifford Smith, M.D., of Henrico Doctors' Heartburn and Acid Reflux Center of Richmond, has been performing the minimally-invasive, laparoscopic procedure, since 2017, when the hospital completed the first ever case in Central Virginia.
Smith says that the device is an innovative alternative to traditional surgery and has shown favorable results. The device also provides added strength to the underlying muscle with less dissection and ultimately offers relief from medications. He adds that while medications remain a popular choice for patients suffering with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), the symptoms and side-effects can be painful.
"It's rewarding to see a patient after surgery share that they are now able to eat certain foods that they have had to avoid for years," said Smith. "We are pleased to see that our patients are experiencing an improved quality of life with relief from reflux and heartburn. Most importantly patients are able to discontinue the use of antacid medications."
The device is designed to treat patients with severe heartburn or GERD and augments the lower esophageal sphincter, preventing stomach acid from escaping.
The procedure uses a camera and involves the laparoscopic implantation of what is known as a Linx device made up of magnetized titanium beads connected by titanium wires. It is placed around the lower esophagus just above the stomach. The magnetic beads constrict to prevent acid from escaping out of the stomach while allowing the patient to eat and swallow normally.
Find out more information on GERD and the Heartburn and Acid Reflux Center of Richmond.