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LINX™ Implantation

LINX™ Implantation

A simple and reversible procedure, giving immediate and long term relief from reflux symptoms.

People with GORD have a weak lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS)—a valve at the oesophagogastric junction preventing reflux back into the oesophagus.

Normally your LOS closes after swallowing. However, in people with GORD, the LOS fails permitting reflux from the stomach back into the oesophagus. The reflux can include acid, bile, powerful enzyme Pepsin and be in a liquid form as well as gaseous. Consequently, these substances can damage the sensitive tissue, oesophagus, mouth, throat, airways and lungs.

The LINX device sits around the bottom of the oesophagus and strengthens the natural valve.

How does the LINX™ system work?

The LINX™ is a small, flexible band of interlinked titanium beads with magnetic cores that provide a barrier to the reflux of acid and bile. Swallowing temporarily breaks their magnetic bond, allowing food and drink to pass normally through your LOS. The magnets then close your LOS immediately after swallowing, restoring your body’s natural barrier to the reflux of acid and bile.

The LINX™ is put in place with keyhole surgery and generally completed in less than an hour. The LINX™ starts to work as soon as it’s in position meaning that you should be able to resume a normal diet within a few hours of surgery. You can usually return to normal activities in less than a week.

Moreover, unlike other surgical treatments, the LINX™ system does allow you to belch and vomit.

Why is the LINX™ system needed?

Most people with GORD are put on medication to relieve their symptoms, but this does not prevent reflux. Many will still experience symptoms despite taking regular medication such as PPIs (proton pump inhibitors). In almost 40% of cases, symptoms will persist despite treatment with PPIs, even at a high dose.

How effective is the LINX™ system?

The LINX™ system reduces or eliminates the symptoms of GORD without creating undue side effects.

Multiple clinical studies have shown excellent relief of GORD symptoms and significantly reduced levels of acid exposure in the oesophagus up to ten years post implant.

This study has also showed that two years post implant:

  • 86% of people have completely stopped taking medication for GORD
  • 86% of patients are satisfied with their condition
  • 90% of patients have a normal level of acid exposure in the oesophagus.

What are the side effects of the LINX™ system?

Overall, side effects are minimal and generally resolve over time. Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) was a problem when LINX was introduced but due to development in surgical techniques and post-operative dietary advice this is now rarely a long-term problem. Some patients will experience mild dysphagia in the first few weeks post-surgery but after three months this is likely to have resolved in the vast majority of patients.

The LINX™ system does not involve any changes to the anatomy of your stomach and is easily reversed.

What approval processes has the LINX™ system had to go through?

The LINX™ system has undergone rigorous testing and is CE marked in Europe, meaning that the product has met all requirements for its use.

What are the possible complications?

While all surgery carries the risk of complications, the LINX™ procedure does not involve any changes to the anatomy of your stomach and is relatively easily reversed compared with traditional fundoplication operations. The first LINX™ procedure took place in 2007 and has established excellent safety records. We have the largest experience of LINX surgery in the UK and published the results from our first 200 patients followed up over 5 years in 2023. There were no serious complications related to the surgery.

However, as rare as they are, complications in principle can occur and include:

  • Visceral injury
  • Bleeding
  • Delayed stomach emptying
  • Wound infection

The LINX™ removal rate is 2–3% globally, but less than 1% in patients.