Revolutionary Anti-Reflux Surgery Gives Heartburn Sufferer Her Life Back
Surgical Specialist R.A. Gamagami, M.D., F.A.C.S., uses advanced techniques to treat acid reflux
Christine Guzior, 65, actively enjoys working, vacationing, and spending time with her seven children and 16 grandchildren. However, her vibrant personality began to dim as her quality of her life declined due to severe heartburn and acid reflux. No matter what she ate or drank, whether bland foods or water, she constantly suffered with acid reflux and difficulty swallowing. Christine couldn’t go out to eat with her family without experiencing heartburn and coughing. She even purchased an adjustable bed to sleep upright because her symptoms became so severe that she was unable to lie flat without feeling acid in her throat. For years the Lemont resident tried acid-reducing medications and dietary changes, but continued to have bothersome symptoms.
Fortunately, relief came for Christine one Spring day when she received the Silver Cross Experience newsletter in her mailbox. She read about a free lecture being held regarding the latest minimally invasive surgical options to treat heartburn, reflux disease and Barrett’s esophagus. At this lecture, she met Dr. R. A. Gamagami, a general surgeon with the Midwest Institute for Robotic Surgery at Silver Cross Hospital. One of the options discussed at this lecture was an exciting anti-reflux treatment called the LINX reflux management system.
What Is LINX?
“LINX is a revolutionary solution for reflux and heartburn,” said Dr. Gamagami. “The LINX device is similar to a beaded bracelet; it’s a flexible ring of magnetic beads placed laparoscopically around the base of the esophagus to help keep the stomach valve closed and prevent reflux from occurring.” The LINX implant was designed to be a lifelong solution to acid reflux.
Following the lecture, Christine made an appointment with Dr. Gamagami for pre-operative esophageal testing to see if she was a good candidate for an anti-reflux procedure. On October 5, 2017, Dr. Gamagami used the da Vinci XI Robot System to perform a laparoscopic, robotic-assisted hiatal hernia repair with placement of the LINX anti-reflux device. Patients who undergo this surgery are allowed to eat regular food that same day and typically go home the same day or the next.
There are many benefits to having this procedure done laparoscopically through small incisions. “Christine’s heartburn and regurgitation symptoms have been eliminated in a minimally invasive way, resulting in a much quicker recovery, minimal blood loss and scarring, and a short hospital stay,” said Dr. Gamagami. “She also has been able to stop taking all of her anti-reflux medication, which could have unwanted and concerning side effects when taken long term.”
Life After LINX
Shortly after surgery, Christine knew she had her quality of life back. “I couldn’t believe how wonderful I felt so soon after surgery,” she said. “In just two hours after my procedure, I was eating pot roast, drinking several glasses of water and not coughing or having reflux! During these past several months, I have experienced minimal discomfort. My recovery has been remarkable.”
“This surgery with the LINX implant has totally changed my life for the better – I am a new person! I am forever grateful to Dr. Gamagami for his remarkable expertise and wonderful bedside manner. In addition, I was so impressed to be able to receive such advanced care at a community hospital like Silver Cross,” said Christine. “I am very passionate about sharing my story. I don’t want others to suffer like I did for years, so I constantly pass out Dr. Gamagami’s brochures wherever I go!”
Tired of Living with Heartburn?
Many people have lived with heartburn and reflux for years before seeking medical help. They’ve often used numerous medications including proton pump inhibitors (a class of medication with brand names such as Prilosec and Nexium) for years, despite cautions against long-term use of these drugs. “If you look at the Nexium package, it says it’s only meant for 14 days, and if you need more you should call your doctor,” says Dr. Gamagami. “We often see patients who have been on these medications for 14 years.” Proton pump inhibitors reduce acid in the stomach, providing symptom relief, but they do not solve the cause of reflux. Additionally, many people have hiatal hernias which further aggravate the condition.
If you are concerned about the potential side effects of long term anti-reflux medication and would like to learn more about the options to manage your heartburn and reflux symptoms, please visit www.gamagami.com. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Gamagami or one of his Physician Assistants, please call our heartburn clinic at (815) 373-6000. His office is located at 1890 Silver Cross Blvd, Suites 410 and 520 in Pavilion A, New Lenox, IL.