My legal Disclaimer- I am not a doctor! I am only giving an honest account of my recovery regarding the Linx Procedure. I am in no way suggesting that someone should or should not receive the Linx Procedure. Also, what works for me may or may not work for you. please consult with your doctor for questions or medical advise.
Now to the good stuff.
OK, so where to start. If your reading this, you've been on a long road of misery and still have a very long road until you get to the surgery date. I can explain that later if anyone ask. There are test after test and doctors after doctors you have to see first.
There does not seem to be a lot of 2017 updates for the linx procedure/recovery, so i decided to share my experience. I had the Linx surgery and hiatal hernia repair February 7, 2017. I am now 31 days post op.
First, i will explain why i had the linx device installed and then i will account for the positives/negatives that i have dealt with during recovery from the linx procedure.
I've dealt with Heartburn/gerd/ibs for 17 years, im in my mid 30's. The last 5 years were the worst. It seems that i was throwing up 3 or 4 times a week because i felt a burning at the base of my esophagus. Also, I work out daily, and if i bent over after taking a drink of water, i noticed the water would run back up my throat and also make me nauseous. Finally, i had enough! No more. If someone wants to know the steps that i had to take to get to the surgery, please ask. For now, i will just talk about what I have experienced.
---surgery day is here and im excited---
I wake up from surgery, very sedated and loaded with anti nausea and pain meds. I did not feel any pain (but that came later on). Doctors come in and ask questions etc.. just checking in
Nurses bring food out a couple of hours later, chopped steak, mash potatoes with gravy and a chocolate muffin. Normally, i would not eat these foods as they would cause massive reflux and nausea for me. But, i said what the hell, i just went through this procedure so lets try it out. I ate a little of everything with no problem. To my surprise a few hours later, no burning at the base of my esophagus. This glorious day had come--- i had a a few more meals overnight during my stay at the hospital. The next day or so i ate just the same at home, i even had sweet tea, grilled cheese (things i have not ate in years) pretty much whatever i wanted. I was so excited.
So, 4 days post op, im slowly coming off the pain meds, i also start to notice a pain at the base of my chest.
That night, fear struck, i took a swallow of chicken and my body froze. I noticed a very strong pressure building in my chest. I took a gulp of tea, BAD IDEA, I swallowed a few more times, nothing. I could breath but i could not swallow. I leaned over the sink and threw back up the chewed chicken and sweet tea. Note that i did not throw up food i had already ate, i only threw up what did not make it through/pass the linx. It seems a the dreaded dysphagia kicked in pretty early. Interestingly enough, after throwing this food back up, i waited 10 minutes and began to very slowly and was able to pass food. dysphagia in my opinion, should be a topic that doctors cover very extensively. I was told about it, but i had no idea just how bad it was going to be.. for me at least. I can honestly say, im a grown man and i was at my wits end. I could not swallow food or water.
The next couple of days i experienced horrible swallowing problems. I literally would swallow water and it would not pass though the link devise. The water sat on top of the linx and my saliva starting sitting on top of that, (i think its called pooling saliva) basically in my case, i couldnt even get water down and when i threw it up, it came up with the globs of saliva that were very thick and stringy. So, i fought it and fought but i gave up. I went in to the medstop for fluids. I was losing weight, over the course of 15 days, i lost 7 lbs and still counting.
I went back to my linx surgeon and said take this out i cant do it. He asked me to calm down and perform a barium swallow test. Please google it if your not show what it is, but my results showed a slight pinch after a soft swallow which was trapping the saliva and soft foods like bread on top of the linx. The surgeon said he wanted to put me back to sleep, do another endoscopy and dilation. Basically put a tube in my esophagus, that tube then balloons up and stretches the scar tissue around the device making it easier to swallow. Since that procedure eating has been easier. But, i still eat small portions, chew forever, swallow and wait.
What i can say is that since the procedure, i do not have the burning feeling at the base of my esophagus nor does water or food run back up if i bend over. Very happy!!
However, i now experience normal heartburn which i havent felt in several years. Antacids usually calm this down.
Now i get Nausea, after meals even after a month.
My scars and abdomen still hurt 30 days post op. Probably doesnt help that i went back to work 6 days after surgery. I just started walking again, my first walk was 5 minutes and i felt ran over by a truck all day. Since that day, ive made myself walk every morning, twice in some days. My goal is to get back to running a mile again and working out.
Recap: Linx surgery fixed what i went in for, but just so you know, the recovery process for me was slow and horrible. I had a very hard time in the first 2 weeks. I almost had the device removed. If the nausea and dysphagia do not get better, i will consider removal of the device.
Please feel free to post questions and comments/suggestions. If you are considering the procedure or you are fresh out of surgery, please ask any questions you have.