The LINX procedure: cutting-edge treatment for GORD

Written by: Mr Majid Hashemi
Published: | Updated: 29/11/2018
Edited by: Emily Lawrenson

The LINX reflux management system is a revolutionary device designed to help patients in the treatment of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, otherwise known as GORD. Mr Majid Hashemi is a high-level bariatric & gastrointestinal surgeon, with extensive experience in the surgical treatment of acid reflux. Here he explains what the LINX reflux management device is, and how it can help change patients’ experiences of GORD for the better.

What is the LINX reflux management system?

The LINX system or LINX device is a small, flexible band of titanium beads, linked together in the form of a bracelet. The beads have a magnetic core, meaning they attract and help the sphincter to remain closed.

How does the LINX device work?

In those with GORD, the lower oesophageal sphincter is generally weak, meaning acid and bile can come up from the stomach and enter the oesophagus.

The LINX device is designed to restore the reflux barrier, while allowing food and liquid to still enter the stomach. The force of swallowing is strong enough to break the magnetic bond, meaning the patient can still eat and drink as normal. The magnetic attraction closes the sphincter immediately afterwards, so reflux cannot occur.

How is the LINX device placed?

The LINX management system is placed using minimally invasive (sometimes called laparoscopic) surgery, which usually takes just under an hour (around 45 minutes). This means the patient can usually go home the same day or the next, and scarring is less than in traditional surgical procedures.

Who performs the procedure to place the LINX device?

The LINX reflux management system is a relatively new development in the treatment of GORD and acid reflux. This means there are only a handful of surgeons in the UK who are currently able to perform this procedure.

What should patients expect after the LINX device is placed?

As the LINX management system is put in place using minimally invasive surgery, patients will generally be seen as a day case, with no overnight stay necessary. The incredible advantage of the LINX device is that it allows patients to eat a normal diet after surgery. The traditionally performed procedure for GORD, the Nissen fundoplication, does not allow this and patients are restricted in their diet, starting on a liquid diet that builds up to solids over time.

Recovery is simple and straightforward, with very little discomfort, and minimal scarring. 

Another advantage of the LINX device is that it is removable, making the procedure completely reversible if necessary. Removal of the device returns the oesophagus to exactly the same state it was in before implantation. As the device is a new development in the treatment of reflux management, its effects have not been studied long-term, and it is possible that the device may need to be replaced after the initial procedure, later down the line.

The procedure is shown to be safe from studies performed, and widely successful, with over 90% of patients reporting that they could reduce their medication after the procedure, and 70% reporting that they were able to completely give up their medication. 

 

If you would like to learn more about the LINX management system, make an appointment with a specialist to discuss your options. 

By Mr Majid Hashemi
Surgery

Mr Majid Hashemi is a prolific London-based consultant surgeon, specialising in anti-reflux surgery and laparoscopic (keyhole) bariatric surgery. As one of London's most esteemed surgeons, he has wide experience in a range of surgical treatments, including surgery for hiatal hernia, anti-reflux surgery, bariatric surgery, and oesophageal & gastric cancer surgery. Mr Hashemi holds a notable safety record, with over 3,000 stomach and oesophagus operations performed at a zero mortality rate. Mr Hashemi has performed a range of 'firsts' in surgery, including the first laparoscopic gastric bypass and first laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy in North London in 2004 and the first LINX implant for reflux in London in 2013. In 2017, he performed the first ever implant of a LINX device on top of a sleeve gastrectomy.

Mr Hashemi is one of the only 12 surgeons in the UK who can currently offer the LINX procedure as a method of treatment for acid reflux. His significant experience allows him to give a focused, patient-centred approach, tailoring treatment for each individual and their specific needs.

Through his dedication to innovation in surgery, Mr Hashemi established and chaired one of the country's first bariatric surgery services with a multidisciplinary approach, providing patients with 'one-stop' care, diagnosis and treatment from a range of specialties. The establishment of the first bariatric surgery team in North London allowed Mr Hashemi to develop surgical approaches, and provide training for many of today’s bariatric and upper GI surgeons.

He currently is Chair for the National Achalasia Patient Support Group, and has one of the longest and most extensive experience in the surgical treatment of achalasia in the capital. Mr Hashemi is also an active researcher, and maintains a strong interest in education, having previously held tutoring and lecturing positions at University College and the Whittington Hospital. He is published extensively and is regularly invited to speak at conferences both on a national and international level. He continues to be involved in training for laparoscopic and bariatric surgery, and acts as supervisor for a number of research projects.

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