HOUSTON, TX (September 27, 2021) – As the demand for specialized acid reflux treatment has soared in recent years, the Heartburn & Acid Reflux Institute (HBARI) at St. Luke’s - The Woodlands Hospital has grown to become one of the busiest centers of its kind in Texas and recently marked a significant milestone when doctors implanted its 100th LINX device to treat acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
The American College of Gastroenterology estimates that 60 million Americans suffer from heartburn each month and 15 million Americans experience it daily. As it has become more common, more patients - particularly those who suffer from chronic and painful reflux - are being educated about what specialized treatments might be available to them and recognizing the need to work with their doctor to manage their reflux and prevent other health issues, said Dr. Yong Choi, the institute’s surgical director.
“Reflux is very prevalent and you can go to any grocery store or pharmacy and see aisles of medication for acid reflux and heartburn,” Dr. Choi said. “There’s a lot of people out there who do not understand that there are other options to treat it beyond medicine or just living with reflux.”
For appropriate candidates, one such option is the LINX Reflux Management System, a small, collar-like device that can be laparoscopically or robotically implanted around the esophagus where it meets the stomach to prevent the acid from rising. The procedure is minimally invasive and patients are home the next day with a short recovery time, said anti-reflux surgeon Dr. James Dickerson.
“They have an immediate increase in quality of life,” he said. “They can eat whatever they want without worrying about reflux.”
Untreated, recurrent acid reflux can cause damage to the esophagus or the throat and lead to other health issues, Dr. Dickerson said. Patients should consult with their doctor about what treatments best fit their needs.
“Surgery is not for everybody, but it is for a lot of people and they should at least consider it as one of their treatment options,” Dr. Dickerson said.