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Reflux and Heartburn Solutions

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If you have been diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as GERD, and you have heartburn or regurgitation in spite of taking medications that treat GERD, Dr. Lorant Divald provides advanced testing and therapies for patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), heartburn, and esophageal symptoms. There are very few providers in the state who offer these solutions and we are happy to offer this help for reflux and heartburn locally.

Evaluation

The first step toward relief from reflux and heartburn symptoms is scheduling a consult with Dr. Divald. Based on the consultation, he may order an upper G.I. (a group of X-ray tests that look at your gastrointestinal (G.I.) tract -- your food pipe - the esophagus, stomach and the first part of your small intestine while they're working. This serves as a pre-screening for cancer and serves as a diagnostic tool for determining best next steps.

Diagnosis

In addition to the upper G.I. results, Bravo™ reflux testing evaluates the frequency and duration of acid reflux and Esophageal manometry testing measures the function of the lower esophageal sphincter (the valve that prevents reflux, or backward flow, of gastric acid into the esophagus) and the muscles of the esophagus. Using the results of these tests, Dr. Divald is able to determine if a patient is a good candidate for LINX® reflux surgery or for a Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF®) procedure.

Solutions

We are proud to be one of very few locations across Minnesota to offer these innovative solutions designed to treat GERD.

The LINX® reflux management system is a small flexible band of interlinked titanium beads with magnetic cores designed to restore the body’s natural barrier to reflux in patients with GERD. LINX® is intended for patients who are seeking an alternative to continuous acid suppression therapy.

Linx Device LINX-for-GERD

LINX® is a medical device implanted with a minimally invasive surgical procedure using small incisions. LINX® uses a small, flexible band of beads designed to help keep the sphincter closed and stop reflux. Reflux occurs when the sphincter between the stomach and esophagus is weak, allowing acid, bile and other digestive juices to back up or ‘reflux’ into the esophagus.

The beads in the band each have a magnet inside. When looped around the exterior of the esophagus, the magnetic attraction between the beads helps the sphincter remain closed enough to prevent reflux. However, swallowing breaks the magnetic bond, so food and liquids can pass as usual to the stomach.

Implanting LINX® doesn’t require significant changes to internal structures, so it doesn’t limit future treatment. It can also be removed without damage to the esophagus. After the LINX® device is in place, patients can usually go home the same day or the next day. They can also resume a normal diet (as long as it’s well tolerated) after the surgery. Patients can usually return to mild activities a few days after surgery. As with any surgery, patients should consult with the surgeon regarding any post-surgery care, diet or activities. Because implanting LINX® does not change the structure of the esophagus or other nearby organs, side effects such as difficulty belching, bloating and swallowing are less of a problem than with surgeries that wrap stomach tissue around the esophagus to prevent reflux.

The TIF® procedure is based on established principles of surgical repair of the anti-reflux barrier, except that it is “surgery from within” performed through the mouth with an endoscope—the same equipment used to diagnose GERD. TIF® uses your own stomach tissue to restore your anti-reflux valve to its natural state. The procedure reduces a hiatal hernia and rebuilds the valve between the stomach and esophagus restoring the natural, physiological anatomy to prevent GERD. Because the procedure is incisionless, there is reduced pain, reduced recovery, and no visible scar.

After Your Procedure

You may be able to return home the next day as well as go back to work and resume more normal activities within a few days of these minimally invasive procedures. Local treatment reduces travel for specialty GERD care, including local follow-up. You should expect to experience some discomfort in your stomach, chest, nose and throat for three to seven days after the procedure. While you heal, you will need to be on a modified diet. Before long, patients enjoy the reality of no more PPIS and eating & drinking the foods they want, when they want!