The University of Rochester Medical Center is among 13 surgery sites in the nation selected to offer a new implantable magnetic “ring” that promises relief to the estimated 25 million American adults who suffer daily heartburn.
The device, called the Linx Reflux Management System, won FDA-approval in late March, URMC officials said.
Gastroesophogeal reflux disease, or GERD, occurs when the stomach’s acidic juices backflow into the esophagus, rousing an uncomfortable burning sensation just below the breast bone. Though a muscular ring, or sphincter, usually tightens to clamp off this backsplash, this natural “plumbing” is faulty in some people: The seal is weak, or the sphincter relaxes when it shouldn’t.
Linx Reflux Management System, a nickel-sized loop of magnetic beads, can be inserted laparoscopically in less than an hour. The beads separate slightly to allow food and drink to pass down through the esophagus, then compress back together, reinforcing weak esophageal muscles and limiting acidic backwash from the stomach.
URMC has been implanting the device in study patients since 2009.
Jeffrey Peters M.D., chair of the Department of Surgery, led the device’s clinical trial at the URMC site.
Peters and Thomas Watson M.D., chief of thoracic surgery at URMC, anticipate installing as many as 30 to 40 new devices in the first year. The next-nearest device implantation site is the University of Pittsburgh.
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