Surgery to Prevent Esophageal Cancer

Treating GERD with LINX system

(RxWiki News) Acid reflux, or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is not just an uncomfortable result of a greasy meal. Given enough time, some people with acid reflux may develop damage to their esophagus.

And without treatment, enough damage can influence the tissue to become cancerous.

While treatment for GERD or the precancerous condition known as Barrett's esophagus usually involves acid suppression with several medications, a new surgical device provides a permanent solution to treat advanced cases of heartburn.

"Ask your doctor about long term treatments for acid reflux."

Formally known as the LINX Reflux Management System, FDA approval was obtained in March after several clinical trials showed the device, which uses several magnets, prevents acid from escaping the stomach without any complications.

The clinical trial evaluated 44 patients for long term improvement of symptoms, found that 80 percent of surgical patients had their acid reflux completely reversed after three years had passed.

No significant side effects from the procedure were noted in any patients.

Normally, while the majority of patients are able to manage their acid reflux with a few medications, this minor surgical operation could prove a valuable alternative for patients with extensive precancerous damage in their esophagus, or for patients unable to take medications.

It is important to note that the surgical procedure places metal in the esophagus, meaning that MRIs may not be an option down the road for other procedures after this surgery is performed.

Study results were published in the journal Surgical Endoscopy on April 27th. Financial disclosures were not made by the study authors.

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Review Date: 
May 3, 2012