April 22, 2017

FAQs – LINX

What kind of results can I expect with the LINX?
While every patient’s results will depend on their specific history and anatomy, the five-year LINX study results reported in the Clinical and Gastroenterology and Hepatology Journal showed that after treatment:

  • Daily use of PPIs dropped from 100% to 15% (75% of patients were completely off PPIs and 9% of patients were on PPIs only as needed)
  • Moderate or severe regurgitation decreased from 57% to 1% without use of PPIs
  • Moderate to severe heartburn decreased from 89% to 12%
  • Patient satisfaction increased from 5% to 93%

When can I start eating normally again?
Patients are encouraged to eat a normal diet as soon as possible after surgery. Patients may want to avoid ice or cold beverages for the first few months after surgery to help avoid spasms.

I’ve heard patients have trouble swallowing after surgery. How do I avoid or deal with that?
Difficulty swallowing (dysphasia) is a common and expected side effect of the surgery. It generally begins a week to 10 days after the procedure and can last a few months. Patients are encouraged to eat small amounts every 2-3 hours during the first 3 months. This helps the body adapt to LINX. While some patients have found steroids and dilation also help with this issue, approximately 3% of patients have had the device removed due to dysphasia.

How soon after the procedure can I resume normal physical activities?
Patients are generally able to return to non-strenuous activity within a couple of days and more strenuous activities within a few weeks. Specific restrictions will be dependent on your surgeon’s instructions.

Will I be able to belch or vomit with LINX?
Yes. LINX is designed so you can belch or vomit as needed.

Will I be able to feel LINX after it has been implanted?
A small number of patients have reported sensations in the area of the LINX device. It is not known if this is the device or the result of surgery in the area. These sensations have gone away over time.

How long is the procedure?
The LINX procedure typically takes less than one hour. If you are having a hiatal hernia repaired during the surgery, the procedure could take longer depending on the size and complexity of your hernia. Patients generally go home the next day.

What are the risks associated with the LINX surgery?  
While all surgical procedures have risks, such as the risk of infection, bleeding and reactions to anesthesia, the most common side effects of the LINX surgery are difficulty swallowing, post-operative pain and temporary bloating of the stomach. Your surgical team will discuss the risks with you prior to  your surgery.

Can I go through airport security with the device?
Yes, you can. The device should not affect airport security. However, all patients are given a medical implant card to show to security should an issue arise.

Can I have an MRI? What about other diagnostic tests?
Yes, patients with a LINX can safely have a variety of diagnostic imaging tests such as x-ray, CT scan, PET scan, ultrasound and MRI. Patients should note that there are two versions of the LINX device. One is safe in MRI scanning machines up to 0.7T, the other is safe up to 1.5T. Patients should discuss MRI scanning with their doctor when considering a LINX system.

How long will a LINX device last?
The LINX device is intended to be a permanent solution for GERD. However, 10 year or greater data is not currently available for evaluation.

Will my insurance company pay for LINX?
While coverage and patient costs are dependent on your specific insurance carrier and policy, nearly all insurance companies pay for antireflux surgery. Your clinical team will work with your insurance company to obtain pre-authorization for the procedure.

I have heard that because I had bariatric surgery, I am not a candidate for LINX. Is it possible this will change and I could be eligible for the system in the future?
Yes. Some surgeons are implanting the LINX device in patients who have had sleeve gastrectomies. In addition, there is a current clinical trial to evaluate the LINX device in patients who have had a sleeve gastrectomy and who have GERD.  

If the LINX device needs to be removed or isn’t effective, can I have a Nissen fundoplication?
As long as further testing doesn’t exclude you, a Nissen may be performed because the LINX does not alter your anatomy.

I know I have GERD and feel better on medications. Why do I need additional testing before the procedure?
Esophageal motility testing (manometry) is needed to ensure the muscles in the esophagus generate enough pressure to open the LINX magnetic ring. Twenty-four hour pH testing is used to measure when, and for how long, acid is refluxed into the esophagus to prove that your symptoms correlate with actual reflux events.  An upper GI procedure or barium swallow is used to define your anatomy and help diagnose a hiatal hernia. Additionally, your insurance company may require some or all of the testing in order to pay for the procedure.