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Medical Edge: Ring Helps Relieve GERD Symptoms

CINCINNATI (Liz Bonis) -- Surgeons at the UC Cancer Institute are now among the first in the region to use a breakthrough device, which might help you find relief.                                                                                                
Many of us love pizza and spicy foods, but not everyone can enjoy these foods without serious symptoms such as heartburn, coughing or even chest pain that follow afterward.

When that happens on a regular basis, Dr. Valerie Williams who is a Thorasic Surgeon, says that is commonly referred to GERD or Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disorder.

Initially it is treated with medication, but for those who no longer find those to work, the LINX System is now available.

It's a tiny ring of magnets placed around the lower end of the esophagus.

"The esophagus normally has a valve at the bottom of it that separates the esophagus from the stomach and that is to prevent reflux of acid and food back up into the esophagus. When that valve weakens or shortens, you get reflux," Williams says.

The LINX ring is placed around the esophagus through tiny incisions in the abdomen. At rest, it is closed and when you swallow the magnets or the beads separate to allow the food or the fluid to pass through.

Now a couple of things you need to know about this, you do need to be a proper candidate for this procedure.

It is not suggested for those who are severely overweight. You also may need prior authorization for insurance coverage.

In those who are good candidates however, a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that nine out of ten people who have this treatment, have reduced symptoms, are able to cut down on medication, and are satisfied with the results.

The LINX is intended to stay in the esophageal area for life,although should complications arise, it is removable and reversible

The goal is to reduce the aftermath of serious GERD symptoms, and reduce complications which may follow a diagnosis of this disease, or the medications often needed to treat it.

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