Patients suffering from heartburn, acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) now have a new, safe and effective treatment alternative to taking daily medication. Casey Graybeal, MD, a surgeon with Northeast Georgia Physicians Group (NGPG) Surgical Associates, recently performed the first surgical procedure in northeast Georgia using the FDA-approved LINX Reflux Management System. LINX is a minimally invasive treatment that addresses the main cause of GERD, eliminates heartburn, and, unlike traditional surgical treatment, still allows patients to vomit and belch.
“Many of the patients I see have spent years taking medications to reduce their GERD symptoms, never knowing that other options are available to essentially cure the disease,” says Dr. Graybeal. “With the new LINX device, I am able to address the cause of reflux disease and eliminate painful symptoms while maintaining esophageal function.”
GERD is a chronic, often progressive disease resulting from a weak muscle in the esophagus. The weakened muscle allows harmful stomach acid and bile to splash up from the stomach into the esophagus, often causing heartburn, chest pain, regurgitation, difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, sore throat and cough. If left untreated, GERD can lead to serious complications like Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer.
Because GERD is caused by a mechanical defect in the lower esophagus, it requires a mechanical solution. The LINX System is a small, flexible, interlinked band of medical grade, rare earth magnets enclosed in titanium beads. The LINX System is implanted around the bottom of the esophagus, just above the stomach. The magnetic attraction between the beads helps the esophagus close to prevent reflux. When a patient swallows, however, the band of beads separates temporarily to allow food and liquid to pass into the stomach.
Results from a clinical study showed that after treatment with the LINX System:
- 100 percent of patients no longer experienced severe regurgitation
- 99 percent of patients no longer experienced daily sleep disruption due to heartburn
- 94 percent of patients were satisfied with their overall condition
- 91 percent of patients no longer had to take daily GERD medication
Dr. Graybeal’s practice, NGPG Surgical Associates, offers comprehensive care from consultation to testing to diagnosis to treatment. Their surgeons perform all types of general surgeries, but Dr. Graybeal personally performs more than 100 procedures for GERD each year. He and his physician assistant, Jessica Keller, PA-C, recently began performing the LINX procedure at Northeast Georgia Medical Center.