St. Luke’s University Health Network now offers a minimally invasive robotic surgery for patients suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), according to a July 2 news release.
The surgery uses a LINX device, which is a string of magnetic titanium beads on a wire that are custom fit to each patient, to treat GERD and to repair hiatal hernias which are associated with the disease.
“This procedure has significantly fewer complications of recurrence, slippage or gas bloating than the traditional fundoplication,” said Dr. Dustin Manchester, a thoracic surgeon at St. Luke’s, who added that the new procedure does not alter the patient’s gastric anatomy, as traditional procedures for GERD can.
During the procedure, the LINX device is placed surgically at the gastroesophageal junction. The magnets help keep the lower esophageal sphincter closed to prevent reflux. When a patient swallows, the LINX device opens temporarily to allow food and liquids into the stomach.
Most patients stay in the hospital for one night and are discharged to home the following day. As this procedure is performed minimally invasively with small incisions, most patients have very little pain and can return to work within a few weeks.
Sandra Cahill, 46, of Wilson Borough was the first St. Luke’s patient to have the LINX device implanted robotically on April 19. Dr. Manchester also repaired a hiatal hernia that had wrapped around Cahill’s stomach and diaphragm.
“Before the procedure, I always felt like there was something in the back of my throat,” she said. “After I ate, I had stomach pains. Now, I feel a lot better. The healing process was very smooth with no issues…”
Founded in 1872, St. Luke’s University Health Network is a regional non-profit network of more than 15,000 employees providing services at 10 hospitals and over 320 outpatient sites throughout the greater Lehigh Valley.