16 March 2018
Many people try indigestion tablets or medicine while others make changes in their diet, but the unpleasant and often embarrassing symptom of acid reflux is something that can stay with a person throughout their life.
Now a West Midlands man who had suffered from the condition since he was a teenager has had his problem solved by a tiny flexible band of magnetic titanium beads.
Investment banker James McCallister spent years unable to really enjoy eating because he suffered from gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) and would usually regurgitate some or all of his food within 30 minutes of eating it.
“There was no real pain but it was quite unpleasant and, to be honest, very awkward in social situations. It started when I was about 16 and dogged me throughout my time at university and into later life,” said 30-year-old James who lives in Sutton Coldfield with wife Jess.
“I had various tests and was given various medications but nothing worked and I was beginning to think it would be something I had to live with for the rest of my life”.
“However, when a friend of the family was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus, I decided I needed to get myself checked out again,” said James.
It was then that James met Consultant Surgeon Mr Rishi Singhal at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull, Birmingham who, after carrying out further tests, suggested that the LINX system could be the answer to his problem.
Mr Singhal explained: “There is a circular band of muscle (a sphincter) at the junction between the oesophagus and stomach. This relaxes to allow food down but then tightens up to stops food and acid leaking back up (refluxing) into the mouth. If the sphincter weakens then it fails to stop the refluxing and food and acid will leak back.
“Unlike the stomach, the lining of the oesophagus does not have a protective barrier and the acid and gastric contents can cause irritation, inflammation, ulcerations and strictures.
“The LINX is a small, flexible band of magnetic titanium beads linked together to form a bracelet which fits around the oesophagus at the entrance to the stomach. It is fitted through the abdomen using laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery.
“Swallowing breaks the magnetic force of the links, allowing food to pass into the stomach. Once you have swallowed, the links come tightly together to stop any leak back into the oesophagus. In effect it is taking the place of a fully-functional sphincter”.
James was out of hospital on the same day as the operation and, at first restricted to four or five very small meals a day to get the bracelet to working regularly.
“Within a week I was back in my normal routine and within two weeks playing football as if nothing had happened. It really has cured my reflux problem and I would advise anyone suffering similar symptoms to see their GP as soon as possible”.
How quickly could I have a consultation, and how much would it cost?
It depends on the availability of the consultant you wanted to see, but we pride ourselves on getting you fast access to diagnosis and you can often get a consultation within 24 to 48 hours. Initial consultation fees vary by consultant, but between £175-£250 is a reasonable guide.
If I need surgery, how quickly could I have it?
We have no waiting lists at Spire Parkway, but again it depends on the availability of the consultant you wanted. As a guide, and subject to your pre-operation assessment, between one and two weeks.
I don’t have health insurance, can I pay for myself?
James can now enjoy meals out after LINX device puts an end to his acid reflux problems.