LINX® system for refluxA small, flexible band of interlinked titanium beads with magnetic cores that helps create a barrier to the reflux of acid and bile.
The LINX® System is a small device that is placed around the muscle at the base of the oesophagus. It comprises a ring of connected magnetised titanium beads that help create a barrier to the reflux of stomach contents. When we swallow, the force created temporarily separates the beads to allow food and drink to pass, and then the magnetic force closes the beads to prevent the reflux of acid and bile. The LINX system is placed using a laparoscopic (keyhole) procedure which normally takes about an hour to complete. The minimally invasive nature of the procedure means that most patients are able to go home on the day of their surgery.
The main benefits include:
- Patients recover quickly and resume a normal diet immediately
- It’s reversible
- It avoids some of the side effects of fundoplication
- Low re-operation rate
You can see specialist consultants and have a range of scans and tests at either one of the below facilities. If you need a procedure, this will be carried out at KIMS Hospital in Maidstone.
KIMS Hospital, Maidstone
Sevenoaks Medical Centre
Prices & payment
The above are guide prices only.
Does it work?
There have now been several research studies published which have looked at the safety and efficacy of LINX® up to five years following surgery. These have consistently shown the following:
- Significant and maintained reductions in reflux symptoms
- Normalisation of acid exposure in the oesophagus
- Significant improvements in quality of life
- Most patients remaining off medication
- Significantly fewer side effects than those caused by fundoplication operations
- A low complication rate
How long does recovery take following surgery?
Surgery to insert the LINX® system is less invasive than fundoplication. The majority of patients can leave hospital on the same day as surgery if they wish to.
The LINX® System starts to work as soon as it is in place. Patients can return to a normal diet immediately after surgery, however, it’s possible to have moderate difficulty swallowing for a period of time. Patients can usually return to normal activities within a week.
Are there any side effects/complications?
Side effects following the LINX® System procedure are minimal and generally resolve over time. The main side effect can be a mild dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), which occurs in less than half of patients after the procedure and is generally resolved within 90 days without treatment.
Unlike other surgical treatments, the LINX® System does not have the side effect of restricting belching and vomiting.
Complications are rare, they include;
- Significant bleeding (less than 1 in 500)
- Visceral injury (less than 1 in 500)
- Severe dysphasia which requires dilatation (Between 1 in 10 and 1 in 20)
Erosion of the device into the oesphagus has been reported but seems to be a far smaller risk than initially feared. The evidence suggests this can occur in between 1 in 750 and 1 in 1000 patients. When it does occur the LINX® can be removed with another minimally invasive procedure.
Can it be removed?
Yes, the LINX® can be removed. Removal is performed during a keyhole surgery and is usually straightforward.
The removal rate is 2-3% globally but less than 1% in RefluxUK patients since 2017.
How long does the device last?
Studies have indicated that the LINX® may be more durable than the fundoplication but definitive evidence is not yet available as it’s a relatively new treatment.
Anne was suffering with laryngo-pharyngeal reflux (LPR) and for 30 years had near continuous coughing, especially when eating. After being successfully treated with LINX surgery, Anne said, "I feel so much better. My cough has gone and people tell that me my voice sounds much stronger. I am back doing my hobbies again and sleep is better. The outcome is just what I was hoping and expecting it would be." Anne – RefluxUK patient
Rajiv had experienced typical reflux symptoms, including heartburn, regurgitation, poor quality of sleep, pain while exercising, and this had persisted all of his adult life. After LINX surgery, the improvements were immediate and have been sustained in the years since. "After my treatment I no longer suffer from any reflux symptoms." Some months later, Rajiv added, "I am still off the reflux medication. I eat and drink better and sleep is normal. In fact I don’t suffer from any symptoms now." Rajiv – RefluxUK patient
RefluxUK is an independent CQC registered healthcare provider which is working in partnership with KIMS Hospital. Any enquiries made via the KIMS Hospital enquiry line are transferred directly to RefluxUK where an outpatient appointment with a consultant will be arranged by a member of their team. The pre-operative multi-disciplinary team (MDT) assessment is performed by RefluxUK.
Whilst a patient is in the hospital, a consultant who has practising privileges at KIMS Hospital will take responsibility for the patient together with the KIMS Hospital team. Upon discharge, patient care will be transferred back to RefluxUK together with operation notes and the discharge summary.
In the event of any post-operative complication, patient care will continue to be provided by KIMS Hospital until any issues are resolved. Regular meetings between KIMS Hospital and RefluxUK will take place to review the service, quality & governance, and patient feedback.
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