The LINX® Reflux Management System, a bracelet of magnetic beads, is laparoscopically placed around the lower end of the esophagus. In this position the LINX device augments or supports the function of the native, poorly functioning lower esophageal sphincter. Reflux from the stomach into the esophagus tends to occur after meals, when the stomach is distended. The magnetic attraction between the beads of the LINX device helps prevent reflux by keeping the sphincter closed when the stomach is distended. However, the LINX device is designed so that the magnetic beads open during swallowing and allow belching or vomiting, if necessary.
The procedure can usually be completed in 30 minutes, and patients often go home the same day.
Before, during and after treatment
Under general anesthesia, a surgeon who has experience in laparoscopic anti-reflux procedures and has received specific training in the use of the LINX device will access the esophagus using a laparoscopic approach (through several small incisions made in the abdomen). The LINX System is placed around the esophagus and the ends of the device are attached to each other. The procedure usually takes less than one hour to perform. It is unlikely that the LINX System will move from the place where it was implanted because it becomes covered with tissue during the healing process.
What happens after the treatment?
Return to normal diet
You should return to a normal diet as soon as tolerated after the surgery. This is important to ensure proper healing at the implant site of the LINX System.
You may have difficulty swallowing
You may feel like you are having difficulty or pain with swallowing after the surgery. This is normal and expected. If you experience difficulty swallowing, follow these steps:
- Drink a few sips of water before taking your first bite of food and between bites as necessary.
- Take small bites of foods that can easily pass down your esophagus and into your stomach.
- Chew food well before swallowing.
- Foods such as bread, pasta, rice and meat are more likely to cause problems.
You will receive a LINX Implant Card following your surgery. Carry your LINX Implant Card with you as notification to care providers that you have received a LINX System. If you lose this card, please contact your doctor’s office to receive a replacement card.
When to call your doctor
After the procedure, your doctor will provide you with instructions about when to call. In general, you should contact your doctor if you have:
- Fever topping 100.4 degrees or signs of infection
- Difficulty swallowing or inability to swallow
- Painful swallowing
- Increased abdominal pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Cough or difficulty breathing
You should call your doctor if:
- You are told that you need to have an MRI procedure. You should not be exposed to an MRI environment. The MRI could cause injury to you and/or damage to the LINX System.
- You are told you need other surgical procedures or endoscopic treatments of your esophagus. These may be contraindicated because of the presence of the LINX System.
- Travel You may travel as soon as advised by your doctor. The LINX System should not interfere with airport security. You should carry your implant card when traveling so others will know you have an implanted device in case of an emergency.