Patients who suffer from chronic heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may have a condition called hiatal hernia. This is a dilatation of the normally occurring teardrop shaped opening in the diaphragm through which the esophagus passes from the chest into the abdomen to reach the stomach. The degree of dilatation and the resultant herniation of stomach through the dilatation are variable, as are the symptoms and treatment required. Patients who are unsuccessful in controlling symptoms with lifestyle changes and/or medications may be candidates for surgical correction of the hernia.
Some patients may be a candidate for an implanted device which has been shown to have similar results in controlling heartburn and reflux. The LINX device is a “bracelet” of small magnets which is placed around the esophagus immediately before the stomach. This surgery can be performed as an outpatient in most cases.