Could Surgery Extinguish Your Heartburn?

Could Surgery Extinguish Your Heartburn?

More than 40 percent of Americans suffer from heartburn at least once a month. While occasional heartburn isn’t something to worry about, frequent symptoms could signal a more serious problem known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or acid reflux.

What’s the difference between heartburn and GERD?

Heartburn is caused by stomach acid backing up into the esophagus. The burning sensation is generally felt in the upper and central part of your chest.

Heartburn is a common symptom of GERD, but this condition can also cause:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Regurgitation of food or sour liquid
  • A feeling like there’s a lump in your throat
  • Coughing, wheezing or frequent throat clearing
  • Hoarse voice
  • Nausea

How can you cool your heartburn?

The first line of treatment for alleviating heartburn is lifestyle modification, such as avoiding food triggers, quitting smoking, losing excess weight, raising the head of your bed, and taking over-the-counter or prescription medications before or after eating.

When should you call the doctor?

If you have acid reflux that persists, you should see your health care provider. Left untreated, GERD can lead to a condition known as Barrett’s esophagus (putting you at increased risk for esophageal cancer).

What if lifestyle changes aren’t enough?

If you’re still struggling to find relief, Holland Hospital’s Reflux Center offers comprehensive assessments to diagnose GERD and can tailor a treatment plan for you. No physician referral is necessary. Just call (616) 494-8300 to speak with an expert.

If your treatment requires surgery, Holland Hospital can also help you learn more about the latest surgical options for GERD, including the LINX® Reflux Management System.

What is LINX?

The LINX system is a small ring made of magnetic titanium beads. Surgeons implant the ring using a laparoscopic or minimally invasive technique. Once implanted, the LINX system supports the lower esophageal sphincter (a ring of muscle that guards the opening to the stomach) to prevent acid reflux.

Are you a good candidate for LINX?

When lifestyle changes and antacids do not sufficiently relieve the symptoms of GERD, a series of diagnostic tests may be used to determine if you’re a good candidate for the LINX system. LINX may be an effective option for those seeking an alternative to long-term acid suppression therapy.

While all surgery poses risks, these risks are rare. Common side effects of the LINX system include difficulty swallowing, post-surgery pain and temporary stomach bloating.

How long does surgery take?

Approximately one hour. You will be kept in the hospital overnight for observation.

Will you be able to eat normally after surgery?

You should be able to eat soft foods within 48 hours of surgery. You will be encouraged to enjoy your regular diet as soon as possible.

When can you return to everyday activities?

Patients can often return to non-strenuous activities a few days following their procedure.


  • Brian Dishinger, MD

    Brian Dishinger, MD

    Lakeshore Health Partners - General Surgery
    577 Michigan Avenue, Suite 202
    Holland, MI 49423
    Phone: 616-394-0673
    Fax: 616-394-9825

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