You’ve had GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) for a while, and it’s not getting any better. You’ve tried medication, and it just doesn’t work for you. Besides, you know all medication has side effects, and you’d rather not take another pill for the rest of your life.
Board-certified bariatric and general surgeon Dr. Michael Sutker explains all of the ins and outs of a bariatric surgery called LINX® that may work for you. He determines whether you’re a candidate for it. Once you’re cleared for the surgery, it’s time to learn the dos and don’ts associated with this bariatric procedure.
The LINX Reflux Management System is a small device that’s implanted around a muscle called your lower esophageal sphincter, located at the end of your esophagus near your stomach. The device is about the size of a quarter. The system has titanium beads and wires affixed to a magnet.
You have GERD because your lower esophageal sphincter muscle isn’t working properly. It’s supposed to open to allow food to enter your stomach and then close while your food is being digested.
The problem is that your muscle isn’t closing all the way when food enters your stomach. It allows partially digested food or liquid coated with stomach acid to travel back up your esophagus, giving you all of your painful GERD symptoms: heartburn, stomach pain, a sore throat, chronic cough, shortness of breath, and/or food regurgitation.
The LINX device stops partially digested food in your stomach from flowing back up into your esophagus, thus relieving GERD symptoms. Swallowing activates the magnetic beads to move apart, and foods can pass through the opening into your stomach. Then the beads return to their closed position.
After LINX surgery, you may not need the medication you currently take to control the condition.
You’ll still be able to swallow foods and eat pretty normally after a recovery period.
We provide you with complete written instructions for post-surgery eating and drinking. The following summary is a broad-brush guideline to give you an idea of the changes in your eating during recovery.
We advise you to eat some soft foods after your procedure along with regular food. Follow the SLOW approach. We use that acronym as an abbreviation for the following instructions.
S = small. Drink some warm liquid like tea before you begin eating; it relaxes the sphincter muscle. Cut your food into small pieces. Chew thoroughly. Eat four to six smaller meals during the day instead of three large meals. Avoid dry foods. If you try to eat a large bite, you may experience a spasm or hiccups.
L = longer. If you feel your food is stuck in your throat, wait one minute between bites. Don’t take a bite and then try to wash down food in your mouth with liquid. You’ll need to take extra time at meals, because you’ll need to cut your food into small pieces. Take time to savor the flavor.
O = often. Eat four to six smaller meals per day. Add a small amount of yogurt (or a food of similar consistency) every hour you’re awake.
W= warm. Use warm liquid to relax your esophageal muscles to keep food moving down your esophagus. Keep drinking liquids to prevent getting dehydrated.
Call or book an appointment online with Dr. Sutker today if you have uncontrolled GERD, are considering weight loss surgery, or have other bariatric and general surgery needs.