BOSTON – MGH is now the first and only hospital in New England to offer a new, FDA-approved procedure for people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It’s called the LINX Reflux Management System. In this procedure, a flexible bracelet of magnetic titanium beads is implanted around the esophagus laparoscopically. When in place, it supports a weak lower esophageal sphincter -- the muscle that opens and closes to allow food to enter and stay in the stomach. GERD is caused when the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes too often and for too long, and acid from the stomach leaks back into the esophagus.
“The LINX procedure is simpler than some other traditional anti-reflux operations, and may avoid some of the side effects such as bloating or inability to vomit,” says David Rattner, MD, chief of General and Gastrointestinal Surgery at the Mass General Digestive Healthcare Center. “It is also reversible, and patients are able to eat a normal diet immediately afterwards.”
Not all patients are candidates for this procedure. “Ideal candidates are patients who have had an incomplete response to proton pump inhibitors in treating GERD, as well as those who respond well to medications but do not want to continue taking medications indefinitely,” explains Rattner. “Patients that have difficulty swallowing, a hiatal hernia larger than 3 cm, a BMI greater than 35, severe esophagitis, or who have had prior anti-reflux surgery are not candidates for the procedure.”
About the Massachusetts General Hospital
Founded in 1811, the MGH is the third oldest general hospital in the United States and the oldest and largest in New England. The 900-bed medical center offers sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic care in virtually every specialty and subspecialty of medicine and surgery. Each year the MGH admits more than 46,000 inpatients and handles nearly 1.5 million outpatient visits at its main campus and health centers. Its Emergency Department records nearly 80,000 visits annually. The surgical staff performs more than 35,000 operations and the MGH Vincent Obstetrics Service delivers more than 3,500 babies each year. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the country, with an annual research budget of more than $500 million. It is the oldest and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, where nearly all MGH staff physicians serve on the faculty. In July 2012, MGH moved into the number one spot on the 2012-13 U.S. News & World Report list of "America's Best Hospitals."