New surgery helps acid reflux patients - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New surgery helps acid reflux patients

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A new surgical device for treating chronic reflux is now available in Albany. GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is one of the most common medical problems in this country.

Many people can control symptoms with dietary changes or medication, but when those fail there is a new surgical alternative that can help.

"I've got control of my life again," says Kelly Turner, GERD patient.

Kelly Turner used to love eating Mexican food, but her acid reflux kept her from enjoying her favorite meal.

"Imagine you wake up, of course it would be just like choking on water, but I think I had Mexican that day, so it felt more like I had poured rubbing alcohol into my lungs," says Turner.

When the muscular valve at the base of the esophagus weakens, and won't keep food and digestive acids in the stomach, that's reflux. Turner tried to control the problem with acid-reducing medicines and by changing her diet but nothing seemed to solve the problem.

"If I ate something buttery, greasy, spicy, I would still get the pain," says Turner.

So in hopes of a permanent fix, Turner went to Dr. Chris Smith. "Every aspect of her life was controlled by her reflux, what she ate, how she slept, her work, everything was controlled by her reflux, now she has gotten back control of her life without that aspect," says Dr. Chris Smith, General Surgeon.

He has performed one of the country's first laparoscopic surgical procedure using a newly approved device designed for treatment of gastrointestinal reflux disease, known as GERD.

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital is one of the 16 centers nationwide currently approved to offer the new device known as LINX, Reflux Management System. The LINX System is a small implant comprised of interlinked titanium beads with magnetic cores.

"It adds 15 millimeters of mercury resistance to the valve opening, when food comes down, the magnets start to separate, and as the magnets separates their attraction decreases, so it very elegantly opens and relaxes allowing the food to pass," says Smith.

Now Turner is looking forward to eating her first pain free Mexican meal.

Albany Surgical, PC
Joseph J. Burnette, MD
Chris C. Smith, MD, FACS
401 W. Fourth Ave.
Albany, GA 31701

Phone: (229) 434-4200