LINX: Treating GERD with Innovation

A hiatal hernia occurs when part of the stomach pushes through the diaphragm. The diaphragm normally has a small opening for the esophagus. This opening can become the place where part of the stomach pushes through. Small hiatal hernias often cause no symptoms, while larger ones can cause pain and heartburn, leading to gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. In 2012, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new treatment device called the LINX Reflux Management System to offer a new approach to treating GERD, a disease that is increasing at a rate of 30 percent every decade.

Think of the stomach as a mixing bowl that allows food and digestive juices to combine to begin the digestive process. The stomach has a protective lining that prevents acid in the digestive juices from eating away at the stomach muscle and causing inflammation. Unfortunately, the esophagus does not have a similar protective lining. Instead it relies on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to act as a valve to prevent acid from refluxing from the stomach into the esophagus. In the situation of a hiatal hernia, part of the stomach pushes up through the opening allowing acid to pass into the esophagus causing symptoms may include the following:

  • heartburn
  • nausea, vomiting, or retching (dry heaves)
  • burping
  • water brash, the rapid appearance of a large amount of saliva in the mouth that is stimulated by the refluxing acid

Symptoms usually are worse after meals. These symptoms may be made worse when lying flat and may resolve with sitting up or walking.

In some patients, reflux into the lower esophagus sets off nervous reflexes that can cause a cough or even spasm of the small airways within the lungs (asthma). A few patientsanatomy-archers may reflux acid droplets into the back of their throat. This acid can be inhaled or aspirated into the lung causing coughing spasms, asthma, or repeated infections of the lung including pneumonia and bronchitis. This may occur in individuals of all ages, from infants to the elderly.

Fortunately, the innovative LINX procedure is helping with this significant health problem. This device is a series of magnets in the form of ring that is implanted around the bottom of the esophagus during a short, 40-minute laparoscopic procedure.

The ring of magnets is designed to stay closed and prevent the reflux valve from opening thereby preventing acid from the stomach move up into the esophagus. The magnets will open up the ring when people are eating to let food in much like a person’s native reflux valve.

 

Here are some things you need to know about the LINX procedure.

  • It is focused on the underlying cause of reflux disease not the side effect. Reflux disease is a result of a damaged lower esophageal sphincter (LES).
  • It is safer than the long-term use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Studies have proven that reflux disease can progress even when PPI therapy has effectively eliminated GERD symptoms. LINX is effective at reducing symptoms and improving quality of life.
  • A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine tracked 100 patients for three years after their LINX surgery. That study found an overall decrease in stomach contents reaching the esophagus, fewer reflux symptoms, and a substantial reduction in PPI usage.
  • The side effects disappear over time in most cases. Initially, most patients experience some discomfort, but it typically dissipates over several weeks. In addition, the most commonly reported side effect is mild difficulty swallowing, which usually subsides over time.
  • The cost can be much less than a lifetime of PPI use: a 2010 study by Consumer Reports found once-a-day PPI use can range from $2,000 to $4,500 per year for brand name prescription PPIs.
  • This is minimally invasive and is performed as an out-patient procedure.
  • LINX is reversible and can be replaced.
  • Since the LINX band is placed around the LES, the device can be removed or replaced, if necessary.
  • This procedure is recommended for those with continued GERD symptoms under maximum therapy prescribed by a specialist.
  • LINX is not for everyone with advanced GERD. Today LINX is not approved for those with Barrett’s Esophagus or anyone suffering from esophageal cancer. It is important for everyone suffering from advanced stages of reflux disease to explore all available options before their disease progresses to the point where options are limited.

It is important to take your heartburn symptoms seriously because they are signals from your body that something is wrong. Since reflux disease is a progressive chronic condition, treating it early could prevent you from having to consider surgery later on.

As the first LINX trained surgeons in Las Vegas, Dr. Shawn Tsuda and Dr. Heidi Ryan at VIP SURG are ready to help you fight back against gastroesophageal reflux disease. Schedule a consultation to learn more.

 

 

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The Link Between Seasonal Allergies and Reflux

While many may think of seasonal allergies happening in the spring along with blooming flowers, fall can also be a difficult time for those who are allergic. Ragweed, dust, mold, mildew, and the removal of fall crops are just some of the possible fall triggers for allergy sufferers. What many people don’t know is that allergies can be a big issue for people dealing with acid reflux disease. Separate from food allergies, seasonal allergies can also play a role in exacerbating the symptoms of acid reflux.

The link between seasonal allergies and acid reflux disease is that as allergic response becomes more active, one has more nasal drip, and more nasal drip leads to more acid, and that acid can then reflux up into the nasal passages and make the whole cycle even worse. In addition, one of the ways that seasonal allergies can aggravate acid reflux disease is the pressure from coughing or sneezing. This pressure can temporarily weaken the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and allow stomach contents to splash into the esophagus. In order to get the added acid reflux pain under control, suffers also need to get the drainage, sneezing and coughing under control.

The first line of defense in the seasonal allergy arsenal is generally the use of antihistamines. Medications provide a way to lessen the reaction the body has to the histamines produced by allergies. These medications can help many people deal with their allergies without any further treatments.

Senior man with reflux

If you do need antihistamines in the pollen season, remember that they can dehydrate and cause constipation. The latter is also a huge reflux trigger. Be sure to drink plenty of water and gradually increase your fiber intake to counteract any unpleasant side effects. You don’t want to trade one reflux trigger for another.

There are a few things that you can do this time of year to help lessen your increased acid reflux symptoms due to allergies:

  • Even though the weather this time of year can be gorgeous, keep the windows closed in at least one room of your house. Spending time in this room throughout the day will give your entire bodily system a break from the environmental stress being placed on it.
  • Shower and change clothes after working or being outside. Most aller
    gens cannot be seen. Especially on a windy day, just assume that if you have been outside, you are wearing allergens when you come inside.
  • Be proactive with your reflux medication and your allergy medication this time of year. Reflux comes in waves. One of the best ways to manage reflux is to understand ahead of time when your reflux may be troublesome and manage accordingly. An antihistamine can be helpful. It works by blocking a certain natural substance (histamine) that your body makes during an allergic reaction. This medication can also slow down your runny nose and nasal drip whichin turn can help your reflux symptoms.
  • Do not experiment with new foods. Keep your eating very simple and reflux friendly until at least the first frost in your area.
  • Avoid raw fruits and vegetables. Allergens can be found in our environment and also in raw fruits and some vegetables. These same foods can often be better tolerated cooked. When foods are heated, the proteins are distorted and the immune system no longer recognizes the food as a problem.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are suffering from acid reflux. Schedule a consultation at VIP Surg. We can help find the right treatment for you.

 

Normal Heartburn or GERD?

Acid reflux is a serious disorder that can and must be treated to prevent symptoms and stave off potentially life-threatening consequences. Known medically and commercially as GERD, the acronym for gastroesophageal reflux disease, repeated bathing of the soft tissues of the esophagus with corrosive stomach acid can seriously damage them and even cause esophageal cancer, which is often fatal.

Acid reflux is more than just a nuisance. It involves the backward flow of stomach acid into the tissues above it. It results when the lower esophageal sphincter, a ring of muscle between the esophagus and the stomach, fails to close tightly enough to prevent the contents of the stomach from moving up instead of down. Sometimes the upper sphincter, between the esophagus and the throat, malfunctions as well.

Contrary to what many believe, heartburn is but one of the many symptoms of GERD, and failure to recognize the others when heartburn is not among them can result in harmful untreated reflux. In addition to indigestion, GERD can cause:

  • persistent dry cough
  • sore throat
  • frequent throat clearing
  • hoarseness
  • burping or hiccups
  • bloating
  • difficulty swallowing
  • a sensation of a lump in the throat

If, when faced with such an otherwise unexplainable symptom, your doctor fails to thinkhand holding stethoscope with GERD word. medical concept of GERD as a possible reason, you might suggest it yourself. An examination of the esophagus may be the only way to find out if someone without obvious heartburn has acid reflux but doesn’t know it.

One characteristic often associated with acid reflux — being overweight, especially with abdominal obesity — largely explains why the condition has become so common in Western countries. Someone with a body mass index in the overweight range is almost twice as likely to have GERD as a person of normal weight. Losing weight is one of the best ways to find relief without having to rely on medication. Other ways to relieve GERD symptoms include:

  • quitting smoking
  • limiting alcohol
  • avoiding carbonated drinks
  • eating five or six small meals a day rather than one or two big ones
  • avoiding eating within three hours of bedtime
  • Raising the head of the bed by six inches or more

If you suffer from GERD and are looking for treatment, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Tsuda. Among other procedures, Dr. Tsuda specializes in a revolutionary treatment for GERD called LINX. Find out if it’s right for you.

 

Heartburn or GERD – It makes a Difference

Acid reflux occurs when stomach contents moves backward into the esophagus. It’s also called acid regurgitation or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). Acid reflux is a common digestive condition. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, more than 60 million Americans experience acid reflux at least once a month. More than 15 million Americans experience it every day.

Acid reflux usually causes a burning sensation in the chest. The sensation radiates up from the stomach to the mid-chest or throat. This is also known as heartburn. When symptoms that seem like heartburn persist, it could be a disease with more serious consequences. Chronic reflux can sometimes lead to difficulty swallowing and in some cases it can even cause breathing problems like asthma.

Acid reflux is caused when the muscle at the end of the esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is faulty or weak. The LES is a one-way valve that normally opens for limited amounts of time when you swallow. Acid reflux occurs when the LES doesn’t close properly or tightly enough. A faulty or weakened LES allows digestive juices and stomach contents to rise back up into the esophagus.

Large meals that cause the stomach to stretch a lot can temporarily loosen the LES. Other factors associated with reflux include:

  • obesity
  • stress
  • hiatal hernia (when part of the stomach pushes up through the diaphragm)
  • consuming particular foods (particularly carbonated beverages, coffee, and chocolate)

Most people experience occasional acid reflux or GERD. However, in some cases the digestive condition is chronic.

Acid reflux can affect infants and children as well as adults. Children under 12 usually don’t experience heartburn. Instead they have alternative symptoms like:

  • trouble swallowing
  • dry cough
  • asthma
  • laryngitis (loss of voice)

These alternative symptoms can also appear in adults.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a chronic digestive disease. It’s the more serious form of GERD and can eventually cause more serious health problems if left untreated. Acid reflux that occurs more than twice a week and causes inflammation of the esophagus is considered to be GERD.

Most people with GERD experience symptoms such as:

  • heartburn
  • regurgitation
  • trouble swallowing
  • a feeling of excessive fullness

Living with acid reflux is inconvenient. Fortunately, symptoms can generally be controlled through:

  • stopping smoking
  • reducing alcohol consumption
  • eating less fat
  • avoiding foods that set off attacks
  • losing weight
  • sleeping in different positions
  • antacids
  • anti-reflux medication
  • surgery

Most people with reflux will not have long-term health problems. However, GERD can increase the risk of Barrett’s esophagus. This is a permanent change in the lining of the esophagus which increases the risk of esophageal cancer.

If you suffer from GERD that isn’t responding to treatment, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Tsuda to learn about LINX http://www.linxforlife.com/. This could be the answer you’ve been searching for.

Stethoscope on notebook and pencil with GERD (Gastroesophageal R

 

Get the Facts about Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is an option that many obesity medicine specialists say is too often ignored or dismissed. Yet it is the only option that almost always works to help very heavy people lose a lot of weight. Weight-loss surgery can also make some chronic conditions vanish entirely.

Here are some facts about bariatric surgery and what it does:

  • Twenty-four million, Americans are eligible for bariatric surgery according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. The criteria are a body mass index (BMI) above 40, or a BMI of at least 35 along with other medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, or acid reflux.
  • Fewer than 200,000 have the surgery each year.
  • There are four surgical types in use today. The two most popular procedures are the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and the gastric sleeve. Both make the stomach smaller. The bypass also reroutes the small intestine. A simpler procedure, the gastric band, is less effective and has fallen out of favor. And a much more drastic operation, the biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch, which bypasses a large part of the small intestine, is rarely used because it has higher mortality and complication rates.
  • The average cost of a sleeve gastrectomy is $16,000 to $19,000, and the average cost of a gastric bypass is $20,000 to $25,000. Most insurance plans cover the cost for patients who qualify, though some plans require that patients try dieting for a certain amount of time first.
  • Bariatric surgery is not a magic bullet that will solve all of your weight-related problems. Leading a healthy lifestyle full of healthy foods and exercise post surgery is crucial.

If you live in the Las Vegas area, have a BMI above 40 or any of the other conditions mentioned above, schedule a consultation with Dr. Shawn Tsuda. He and his expert team can help you find the treatment that’s right for you.

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Eliminate the Need for Potentially Harmful Acid Reflux Meds

Nearly 20 percent of Americans suffer from regular bouts of heartburn, acid indigestion and other symptoms of chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is a severe, chronic acid reflux condition in which acidic stomach contents back up into your esophagus. The muscle connecting the stomach to the esophagus is weak or relaxes abnormally, allowing this abnormal movement.

Over the last 20 years, the most popular and effective GERD medications on the market, both prescription and over-the-counter, have been a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). However, long-term use of PPIs have been found to harmful to the body.

Over the last few years, there have been many studies looking at whether long-term PPI use contributes to gut infections, bone loss, chronic kidney disease,  and even dementia. As a precaution, experts recommend that people who have been taking more than one PPI a day for many years seek a medical re-evaluation to see if they still need and are benefitting from the medication.

Here are a few classic symptoms of GERD to look out for:

  • Heartburn: For many people, acid indigestion (known as heartburn) is more than an occasional annoyance after eating a greasy meal. Research shows that more than 60 million people suffer from this burning sensation that can extend from the breastbone to the neck and throat. Heartburn sufferers may also experience a sore throat, hoarseness, chronic cough, asthma, or a feeling of a lump in the throat. Because there can be chest pain associated with GERD, heartburn sometimes is mistaken for heart attack.
  • Regurgitation: a sensation of acid backed up in the esophagus. Other common symptoms are: feeling that food may be trapped behind the breastbone, heartburn or a burning pain in the chest (under the breastbone), increased by bending, stooping, lying down, or eating, more likely or worse at night, relieved by antacids, nausea after eating

Untreated GERD can damage the food pipe, and contribute to Barrett’s esophagus, a risk anatomy-demon-3factor for esophageal cancer, so it’s important not to ignore.

Fortunately, there is a simple, minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure that starts to have a positive impact from day one and eliminates the need for medications for GERD.  LINX is easy to understand and love because it is a simple, quarter-sized device that does exactly what your failing Reflux Barrier is supposed to do — prevent stomach acid from entering your esophagus. LINX is designed to start working the moment the device is implanted.

If you’re interested in learning more, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Tsuda. He can help you decide if LINX is a good option for you.

Fighting GERD with the LINX Reflux Management System

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, aka GERD, is a chronic, often progressive disease resulting from a weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES). One in three adults suffer from heartburn and associated symptoms, meaning that approximately seven million people in the United States have some symptoms of GERD. Many take medications that mask or control symptoms, but when medicine doesn’t work, surgery may be the answer.

The LINX® Reflux Management System augments the weak LES, restoring the body’s anatomy-demon-1natural barrier to reflux. In other words, LINX provides a mechanical answer to what boils down to a mechanical problem.

The LINX System is a small flexible band of interlinked titanium beads with magnetic cores. The magnetic attraction between the beads is intended to help the LES resist opening to gastric pressures, preventing reflux from the stomach into the esophagus.

LINX is designed so that swallowing forces temporarily break the magnetic bond, allowing food and liquid to pass normally into the stomach. Magnetic attraction of the device is designed to close the LES immediately after swallowing, restoring the body’s natural barrier to reflux.

The LINX System is placed around the esophagus just above the stomach using a surgical technique called laparoscopy. Patients are placed under general anesthesia during the procedure. The LINX System does not require any anatomic alteration of the stomach. This procedure is so minimally invasive that most patients go home the day after surgery and resume a normal diet.

It is important to take your heartburn symptoms seriously because it is a signal from your body that something is wrong. Since reflux disease is a progressive chronic condition, you need to make the necessary changes before you have to schedule a surgery.

If you live in the Las Vegas area, and you believe you might benefit from the LINX procedure, contact Dr. Shawn Tsuda for a consultation. He and his expert team will help you find the proper treatment for this serious, life-altering condition.