Maryview Medical Center Sets New Standard in GERD Treatment

Mar 26 2024

Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center recently unveiled a new addition to its medical services with the introduction of the LINX Reflux Management System to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

This revolutionary approach, the first of its kind in western Hampton Roads, was spearheaded by one of our bariatric surgeons, Timothy Schaffner, MD. It marks a significant leap forward in patient care, offering a minimally invasive solution to a condition affecting millions worldwide.

First of all, what exactly is GERD?

GERD is a chronic and challenging condition that occurs due to a weakened lower esophageal sphincter muscle or valve, which is the body’s natural barrier to reflux. This weakness allows stomach acid to rise into the esophagus. Patients with GERD experience symptoms like heartburn, regurgitation, chest pain and difficulty swallowing. While GERD can be treated with medications and lifestyle changes, for 1 in 5 Americans these treatments are not enough.

This is where the LINX system comes into play.

The LINX procedure involves the implantation of a small, flexible band of magnets around the esophagus. Once implanted, the magnetic band, which is about the size of a quarter, opens when a patient swallows food and then closes to prevent stomach acids from flowing back into the esophagus.

This minimally invasive procedure lasts about an hour and many patients can go home within 24 hours with no further need for daily medication. This technology provides a revolutionary alternative to traditional GERD treatments, offering quicker recovery times and reduced long-term dependency on medications.

Kristen Branham, a recent patient of ours, struggled with GERD for more than 15 years after being diagnosed with a hiatal hernia when she was 19 years old.

She reached a point in her treatment where it was difficult to manage her discomfort and medication needs.

“The regimen was intense, taking multiple prescriptions six times a day, always trying to balance them with food to avoid side effects,” she explains.

After an upper GI and further testing, Dr. Schaffner felt that Kristen would be a good candidate for the LINX procedure. Kristen liked that the LINX procedure was minimally invasive with a quicker recovery than other options.

After research and discussions with her medical team, Kristen underwent the LINX procedure on Dec. 20, 2023. Kristen was pleased with the process leading up to surgery and beyond.

“I liked that I could take my regular medications until the day before the procedure and that the procedure itself was smooth,” she shares. “Also, the recovery was faster.”

Today, Kristen’s daily life is easier thanks to the LINX procedure.

She describes her positive experience, saying, “I’m off all regular medication, and I don’t worry about feeling sick after eating or that awful fullness in my chest. I’d do it again in a heartbeat, no regrets.”

Across Hampton Roads, very few surgeons are credentialed to perform this procedure, making Maryview Medical Center a sought-after center for GERD treatment in the region. Having performed this procedure in other areas during his military career, Dr. Schaffner’s expertise further solidifies our ministry’s position as a hub for cutting-edge medical solutions.

“We are thrilled to bring the LINX procedure to Maryview Medical Center,” Dr. Schaffner shares. “This represents a significant leap forward in our ability to provide advanced, patient-centric care for those suffering from GERD.”

Maryview Medical Center remains committed to excellence in health care, continuously investing in innovative technologies and attracting top-tier medical professionals, like Dr. Schaffner and his partner, Siddharth Kudav, MD.

“The technology behind LINX allows us to offer a minimally invasive solution with lasting benefits, and we are excited about the positive impact it will have on the lives of our patients,” Dr. Kudav adds.

Learn more about the digestive health services we provide at Bon Secours.

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