Goodbye GERD: The Life-Changing Impact of LINX Surgery

Nov 7 2019

Kim Lehman has suffered from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) for the past 20 years. Her symptoms became a daily occurrence when she was pregnant with her first child. Many GERD sufferers experience heartburn 20 to 30 minutes after eating. However, Kim had heartburn throughout the day and night.

Whenever her sleep was interrupted during the night, and Kim would try drinking milk or taking antacids. She also altered her diet by avoiding spicy foods, limiting her caffeine intake and not eating right before bed. Additionally, she tried taking various medicines.

In the end, none of this helped. An EGD biopsy done in 2017 revealed chronic reflux changes within Kim’s esophagus and chronic gastritis.

LINX® Reflux Management System

Kim, who happens to work on the campus of Mercy Health – St. Rita’s Medical Center, was referred to Jason Bowersock, M.D., a general surgeon specializing in heartburn and GERD as well as bariatric and trauma surgery. During her initial meeting with Dr. Bowersock, Kim underwent testing to determine if she was a candidate for the LINX® device.

The LINX® Reflux Management System helps treat GERD when medication is not enough. This minimally invasive procedure brings permanent relief to patients with acid reflux.

A flexible quarter-sized device, LINX® is currently the only medical device approved by the FDA as a safe and effective treatment for GERD. During the laparoscopic procedure, the LINX® device is implanted around the lower esophageal sphincter. From there, magnetic titanium beads help the valve close and prevent stomach acid from moving up into the esophagus.

Kim recalls walking into Dr. Bowersock’s office and saying, “please do whatever you need to do, I want this procedure.”

On December 17, 2018, Kim had the LINX® device implanted by Dr. Bowersock at St. Rita’s Medical Center. Kim was the first patient he performed this procedure on, and since then Dr. Bowersock has completed a total of 17 LINX® surgeries. He is also currently the only physician performing this procedure in Lima, Ohio.

Life-changing results

Kim’s quality of life has significantly improved since undergoing the LINX® procedure. She no longer wakes up at night with heartburn and hasn’t taken any GERD medication since the surgery. Kim can now go out with her family and not be concerned about heartburn symptoms. She eats pretty much anything she wants, including spicy Mexican food.

“It’s been a great difference in my life,” says Kim. “I don’t have to worry about what we’re eating tonight.”

Patients who have the LINX® procedure can go home the day of their surgery. The recovery for Kim was minimal, with anesthesia being the most difficult part. She also didn’t have a lot of abdominal pain.

The LINX® procedure is helping patients of all ages and Dr. Bowersock is seeing patients with great results.

“Patients in the Lima area now have access to relief from their reflux disease through this minimally invasive procedure,” says Dr. Bowersock. “LINX is designed to treat patients with severe heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease while helping eliminate dependence on medication and improve overall quality of life.”

Visit the Mercy Health website to learn more about conditions affecting the gastrointestinal system, as well as the procedures and surgeries used to treat them.

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