FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Dr. Nicholas Drahush of Chattahoochee Surgical Group is the only doctor in Forsyth County certified to treat patients suffering from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) using the LINX System. GERD is a chronic disease that occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter, the muscle at the junction of the esophagus and stomach, is weak and does not close properly. This allows harmful stomach acid and bile to reflux from the stomach up into the esophagus. Affecting roughly 20 percent of the U.S. population, it has quickly become one of the most widespread health issues for adults.
“The most common symptoms include heartburn, regurgitation, coughing and chest pain,” said Drahush. “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.”
The newly developed LINX System is composed of titanium beads with magnetic cores forming into a small ring. With a few incisions to the abdomen, it is then implanted around the sphincter. It then replaces the function of the failing muscle and allows the body to reflux properly. The procedure takes an hour, and patients are sent home soon after the surgery. Unlike previous medications, it is the only known method that fully replaces the sphincter.
“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 stomach acids from pushing back up into the esophagus,” Drahush said. “Many heartburn and GERD sufferers are able to manage their symptoms with simple lifestyle changes like diet and exercise. Often the use of acid-suppression drugs such as Prevacid, Nexium, and Prilosec are helpful. These medications lower the amount of stomach acid produced, but do not fix the weakened sphincter.”
Chattahoochee Surgical Group is a Northside Network Provider that is associated with Northside Hospital of Forsyth. Their Advanced Center for Gastrointestinal Therapeutics is responsible for providing the latest methods to diagnose and treat GI conditions. Drahush noticed these issues commonly affecting those around him and decided to combine his interests in surgical healing with an innovative procedure that would eliminate the source.
“In my surgical training, I had substantial exposure to patients with GERD and minimally invasive anti-reflux procedures,” he said. “I was drawn to this field in part due to the dramatic effect that surgery can have on a person’s quality of life. LINX is an excellent solution to a very common problem that I believe many people could benefit from right here in our community.”
For more information, visit chattahoocheesurgical.com. Chattahoochee Surgical Group currently has locations in Alpharetta, Cumming and Dawsonville. For information, call 770-886-1074. For more information about LINX and other GERD treatments available at Northside Hospital Forsyth, call 770-844-3200.