Advanced Anti-Reflux Device Now Available

August 05, 2019
Woman smiling with coffee cup (Jennifer Babb)

A new option to provide relief from chronic GERD symptoms

If you have been diagnosed with chronic reflux or GERD, there is a new device available at Texoma Medical Center that can be an alternative to long-term use of reflux medication and its possible side effects.

General Surgeon Matthew Burruss, MD, is the first physician in the region using the LINX® device. “It’s a ring of magnets that goes around the base of the esophagus to recreate the valve between the esophagus and the stomach,” he says. “It prevents stomach acid from backing up into the esophagus. We insert it using a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure, and patients stay overnight for observation.”

The device is about the size of a quarter and designed to be permanent. No stomach alteration is needed and patients experience fast results. Dr. Burruss notes that patients can resume a normal diet right away. “Other repair procedures require patients to start back slowly with a liquid diet,” he says. “But with this, patients eat regular food so they can ‘work out’ the device and the muscles around it.” He adds that another benefit is that patients no longer need to take medications for reflux.

Patients are referred for the procedure by their gastroenterologist after successful completion of two studies. “One test looks at the PH levels and another checks how well your esophagus works. If the results are good, then the patient is a candidate,” Dr. Burruss says. Another criteria for patients is having a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or lower. Dr. Burruss states that if he feels a patient is not a candidate, he will not approve them for the device.

“Generally, this device is a great option for those with chronic reflux and hiatal hernias. If you have longstanding issues with GERD/reflux and are currently taking medication for it, you should discuss your options with your gastroenterologist,” says Dr. Burruss.

Learn more about the LINX device >

LINX was a game changer for one TMC employee

Jennifer Babb, MA, CNA, who works in TMC’s Cardiac Unit, had been suffering from reflux and taking medications for years. She had to avoid her favorite foods, like bananas, pineapples, nuts, jalapenos, Mexican food, and even coffee, because they would cause more reflux symptoms. At one point, her reflux was so bad, she went to the ER because she thought she was having a heart attack.

When she met with Dr. Burruss, he explained how the LINX may help her. He ran some tests and determined Babb was a candidate for the device. After the minimally invasive procedure, Babb stayed overnight and went home the next day. “Dr. Burruss told me I would no longer need to take my reflux medication, and he was right,” she says.

Babb says she had a great patient experience and no complications. “My incisions were perfect and hardly visible. Having this procedure has changed my life! I can now eat the foods I love and drink my coffee without an issue and don’t have to take medication,” says Babb. “I am so happy I had it done!”