WICHITA FALLS, TX– It may look like a cute little bracelet to give to your niece, but LINX is really a 5,000 dollar device that can potentially save a patient’s life from a deadly disease. 

April happens to be Esophageal Cancer Awareness month, and that’s why Dr. Chris Finnell is stressing the importance of getting yourself checked out if you have constant acid reflux. 

“It’s one of the most common diseases that affects all human beings,” says Dr. Finnell. “Obesity can be a cause, if you have a hiatal hernia that can be a cause, sometimes it just happens because people have a connection between the stomach and esophagus and it allows the acidic stomach contents to move up into the throat.”

LINX was approved by the FDA in 2012 and was created as means of providing long-term relief for people with chronic acid reflux disease or GERD. The LINX band is made up of several titanium magnets that connect around the lower esophageal sphincter to tighten it and make it harder for stomach acid to rise back up into the esophagus. When the patient swallows food, the band expands and allows it to pass. Dr. Finnell says most patients are able to go home the very same day as the surgery and he encourages them to eat a normal diet soon after, to test the strength of the magnets. While this procedure sounds easy, a lot of work goes into qualifying for the LINX surgery. 

Dr. Finnell says,”You would actually have a pretty thorough workup in preparation for this because we have to make sure your esophagus is able to push food strong enough to overcome the strength of the magnets and they also have to confirm that you do in fact have acid reflux.” He recommends patients set up an appointment with the Wichita Falls Gastroenterology Associates clinic over on Brook, to go over testing to see if LINX is something they need. Also, like all surgeries–you must have severe enough symptoms that warrant a LINX procedure.

“The patients that we’re doing the LINX procedure on will be the ones that are waking up at night, they have acid taste coming up in their mouth, maybe have a cough, even respiratory complaints with it, and it’s very good with controlling regurgitation type symptoms,” says Dr. Finnell. 

For someone who’s been practicing bariatric medicine for 10 years in Wichita Falls and performing the LINX procedure for one year, Dr. Finnell says the results among his 20 patients have been very positive so far. 

“Over 90% of people who get this are completely off antacid medications. That’s pretty impressive.”

You can contact Dr. Chris Finnel at the Care Plus Walk-in Clinic at 4327 Barnett Rd. For more information, click here.