If you suffer from gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), chances are the Linx procedure has been presented to you as a viable treatment option. However, you may also need to consider the side effects of Linx surgery.
Linx surgery is a procedure that involves surgically implanting a device designed to treat GERD around the lower esophagus. GERD is a condition where the contents of the stomach flow back into the esophagus.
It is characterized by heartburn, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, dry cough, and sore throat. Regular medication can neutralize the acid but doesn’t stop the reflux.
The Linx device prevents the contents of your stomach from getting back up into the esophagus. It is a string of metal beads held together by a magnet.
When the patient swallows, the beads separate to enable food to move to the stomach. After the food settles, the beads fasten together to prevent the acid from moving back into the esophagus.
Doctors usually recommend it for people whose GERD cannot be managed using the medicine, including proton pump inhibitors.
This procedure involves inserting a tiny bracelet with magnetic titanium beads to compress the lower sphincter in the esophagus.
It usually takes less than an hour and is performed under general anesthesia through laparoscopic incisions.
Most people are now opting for this procedure as opposed to conventional drugs.
Choosing this procedure should involve proper research, including finding out the side effects of Linx surgery.
This article helps a little with the research bit.
It outlines 10 side effects of Linx surgery that may surprise you and have you thinking long and hard about that decision.
But before we get to the side effects of Linx surgery, what else do you need to know about it?
Read on to find out.
How long does it take to recover from Linx surgery?
You will need about 3 or 4 months to recover after the Linx procedure fully.
However, you won’t need to stay in the hospital for long after the surgery since it doesn’t involve altering the esophagus or stomach.
Most patients usually go home the day after the surgery and can return to a regular diet immediately afterward.
This procedure is also highly beneficial because you can eat immediately after. Other procedures required a patient to go on a liquid diet for a fortnight.
Can the Linx break?
Like every other mechanical device, the Linx device may break down after a long period of use.
Fortunately, an x-ray can detect failure as soon as it breaks down.
Make sure to take regular x-rays to confirm whether it is still in the right place.
This will help prevent reflux symptoms if it breaks or moves up into your chest.
Can Linx surgery be reversed?
The Linx surgery is entirely reversible.
The device can be removed if it no longer serves its purpose or for any other reason your doctor may find to necessitate its removal.
What foods to avoid after Linx surgery?
Not to be a bearer of bad news, but you may have to keep off your favorite pizza after this procedure.
Similarly, take pasta and bread crust off your menu for at least three weeks after the surgery.
Also, you should not eat tough foods like boiled chicken and steak for at least three weeks.
If you have to eat any of these foods, you can dip them in stews or sauces to make them softer.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, here are the side effects of Linx surgery that will probably take you by surprise.
What is the success rate of Linx surgery?
Linx surgery has a high success rate.
Up to 95% of patients can stop taking medication.
Side effects of Linx surgery
#1. It may trigger allergic reactions
Most GERD patients tend to be quite sensitive to foods high in nickel content.
Hence, it’s very likely that a substance with nickel, like the Linx device, can cause allergic reactions in patients with a nickel allergy.
Similarly, if you are allergic to titanium or stainless steel, you may have difficulty with the device in your body.
#2. Swallowing may be a bit difficult after the surgery
Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, is one of the most commonly reported side effects of Linx surgery.
This happens due to the formation of scar tissue around the surgery site.
Fortunately, it resolves over time, and your ability to swallow normally returns around the 8th week after surgery.
#3. It can cause or worsen ulcers
Although this is quite rare, the Linx device can erode into the lining of your esophagus and cause you to develop ulcers.
It can be removed as soon as it leaves the esophageal sphincter, so it doesn’t cause any damage.
It is advisable to take x-rays regularly to ensure the device is in place for as long as it is in your body.
#4. It can cause nausea
Nausea is a common transient symptom you may experience immediately after the Linx procedure.
Fortunately, it doesn’t last long. It goes away a few hours after the procedure.
But if it doesn’t, you should let your doctor know as soon as possible.
#5. You may throw up after the procedure
Like nausea, vomiting is a transient side effect of having the Linx device implanted around your esophageal sphincter.
Sometimes these two symptoms occur concurrently, meaning you’ll feel nauseated and throw up shortly afterward.
You can ask your doctor for a remedy as soon as you feel nauseous, so you won’t have to throw up.
#6. It may cause bloating
You are likely to feel bloated and gassy after your procedure.
Luckily this side effect subsides after a short while, just like vomiting and nausea.
#7. You may feel pain on the surgical site
Post-operative pain is one of the side effects of Linx surgery that you will probably experience after the procedure.
Like in most minimally-invasive surgeries, the pain may take a few weeks to go away completely.
#8. It can suppress your appetite
It is not uncommon for a patient’s appetite to go down after the Linx procedure.
You may lose your desire to eat the first few days after the procedure, but this shouldn’t last too long.
#9. It may cause your lungs to collapse
Although relatively uncommon, a collapsed lung is one of lung surgery’s most dreaded side effects.
It occurs when some air gets into the space between your chest wall and lung and puts a lot of pressure on the outside of your lung, causing it to move lower.
#10. You may experience heartburn
A few people report experiencing frequent heartburns up to 6 years post-surgery.
If you are prone to heartburn, you should know that it could worsen after this procedure.
To resolve this, avoid lying down until the feeling subsides. If the heartburn symptoms don’t subside, consult your doctor.
Linx surgery has been a lifesaver for many people who struggle with GERD.
It is a convenient alternative when all conventional medicines used to manage GERD fail.
It is a significant implant surgery only recommended for patients over 21 years old.
However, when we talk about its benefits, we should never forget to let people know about the side effects of Linx surgery too.
Learn everything you need to know about this procedure before you get it, including its side effects, as discussed in this article.