FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Dr. Nicholas Drahush of Chattahoochee Surgical Group, a Northside Network Provider, has recently become the only physician in the Forsyth area to become certified in the use of the LINX System to treat patients with chronic Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.
GERD is a chronic, often progressive disease resulting when the lower esophageal sphincter, the muscle at the base of the esophagus, is weak and does not close properly. This allows harmful stomach acid and bile to flow, or reflux, from the stomach back into the esophagus.
GERD is one of the most common health problems for adults, affecting about 20 percent of the national population. Symptoms include heartburn, regurgitation, coughing and chest pain. Left untreated, GERD can damage the lining of the esophagus, worsen asthma symptoms and cause more serious problems such as bleeding ulcers or Barrett’s esophagus, a leading cause of esophageal cancer.
LINX is a small ring, about the size of a quarter, comprised of interlinked titanium beads with magnetic cores. Through several keyhole incisions in the abdomen, the ring is implanted around the sphincter.
It does what the failing muscle can’t: it reinforces the body’s natural barrier to reflux. The ring is flexible, and the magnetic beads allow it to open and close safely to let food down, but it resists opening to prevent gastric acids from pushing back up into the esophagus.
The device is implanted during a standard minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure and takes about an hour. It is performed on an outpatient basis. Patients generally go home immediately after surgery.