Two years ago we reported on the personal experience of Dr. Reginald Bell MD FACS following his LINX surgery for acid reflux. Dr. Bell is one of RefluxMD’s GERD experts serving patients in the Greater Denver Metropolitan area from the SurgOne Foregut Institute offices located in Englewood, CO. Dr. Bell performs many different antireflux surgical procedures, so we found it interesting that he selected the LINX Reflux Management System for himself over all the other options, including a Nissen fundoplication. Since many RefluxMD members have asked about the efficacy of this procedure, we thought it was time to get an update directly from Dr. Bell.
Dr. Bell, it’s great to reconnect with you! RefluxMD members and visitors enjoyed the first-hand account of your LINX surgery for acid reflux (When the doctor becomes the patient), and many have asked how you are doing at this point. If you don’t mind, here are some of the questions we’ve received since we published your article at RefluxMD.
REFLUMD: First, how were your first ten days following the LINX procedure? Were you in pain and were you able to eat?
Dr. BELL: I went for an easy bicycle ride three days postop, worked a full week starting four days after surgery. I took pain medications for 48 hours after the surgery, and I was eating mostly yogurt-consistency food.
REFLUXMD: Can you describe your diet progress during the first 30 days post procedure?
Dr. BELL: For the first few weeks, I stayed mostly on cottage cheese consistency food, swallowing a few tablespoons every hour, and eating regular meals although I would take my time and was full early. By the end of the first month I was able to eat risotto, but not pizza (I was in Italy at the time!)
REFLUXMD: How about your GERD symptoms? Were they resolved immediately, over time, or do you still have issues?
Dr. BELL: My reflux symptoms were resolved immediately, and I’ve not had any significant issues since then. If I overeat, I can occasionally have some regurgitation – similar to what most normal people experience.
REFLUXMD: What medications (if any) were you taking before the LINX procedure and do you still need medications today to suppress your GERD symptoms?
Dr. BELL: I was on 40mg omeprazole for roughly 15 years before my LINX surgery. I haven’t taken a single acid-suppressive medication since surgery!!
REFLUXMD: Following the procedure, what was the follow-up plan with your surgeon? Did you have an endoscopic examination following your procedure? Do you plan on having any endoscopies in the future? If so, at what interval?
Dr. BELL: I am part of a study protocol that requires a postoperative pH test yearly – It’s been two years since my LINX surgery, and both pH tests were normal. In the past, I would have a follow-up endoscopy every five years because of the long-standing history of GERD.
REFLUXMD: Are you now free to eat anything or do you still maintain a GERD-friendly diet absent any trigger foods?
Dr. BELL: I can eat pretty much anything. Occasionally very acidic juices/liquids will cause some ‘burning’ if it doesn’t go down immediately and sits in the lower esophagus. I think this is important for LINX patients to be aware of, not all ‘heartburn symptoms after the LINX surgery is due to GERD. There is a temptation to restart acid-reducing medications or let another doctor recommend them. This should be resisted, and rather opt for an objective evaluation, including a pH test, with a GERD expert.
REFLUXMD: Do you have concerns about the LINX device slipping or moving?
Dr. BELL: None at all.
REFLUXMD: What advice do you have for others interested in exploring a LINX surgery for acid reflux?
Dr. BELL: That’s simple; LINX is an excellent antireflux procedure for consideration by anyone struggling to manage their GERD symptoms and seeking a permanent solution!
REFLUXMD: Thank you Dr. Bell and we appreciate the update. For anyone interested in learning more about the LINX surgery for acid reflux, we have several articles on our website that we know you will find interesting.
Reginald Bell M.D. is the founder of the SurgOne Foregut Institute located in Englewood, CO, where he serves GERD sufferers around Denver and across the state of Colorado. Dr. Bell attended medical school in Virginia and his surgical residency in Colorado. In 2013 Dr. Bell founded SurgOne, specializing in the diagnosis and minimally invasive treatment of esophageal and gastric disorders.