ROUND ROCK, Texas -- Every day 15 million Americans feel the burn, and it's not a good one. Their acid reflux is that bad. Until now, medication and limited surgical procedures were their only options. However a minimally-invasive surgical option has emerged that promises to correct the problem once and for all, and there's only one Central Texas healthcare system offering the procedure.
Life is good these days for D.Y. Cole and his wife Shirley of San Angelo, but a debilitating illness limited laughter over most of the last decade.
"We're both vocalists, and I started losing my voice," said D.Y.
Cole wasn't suffering from laryngitis but severe heartburn or acid reflux disease. It occurs when stomach contents that are supposed to be going down your digestive system actually go up.
"The acid comes up into your throat and into your esophagus," said D.Y. "It bathes your vocal cords. It gets into your throat."
"In some patients it actually goes all the way up into their voice box and larynx causing problems with voice irritation and actually goes down into some patients lungs," said F. Paul Buckley III, M.D., a general surgeon at Scott & White Round Rock.
Buckley the only surgeon in Central Texas who performs the LINX Reflux Management System Procedure. A bracelet made of magnetic beads encased in titanium is inserted around the esophagus laparoscopically. When a patient swallows the magnets allow the esophagus to open and the food and drink to pass. Once the pressure from swallowing is gone, the magnetic bracelet then snaps back into place immediately.
"It's dynamic unlike any other device or procedure we currently have today," said Buckley.
Cole had his surgery in May.
"I used to live with Tums," said D.Y. "I haven't had a Tums since I had the surgery. I feel wonderful. I can eat anything I want whenever I want to."
"It's good to see him eat or drink anything now," said Shirley.
Shirley also suffers from severe acid reflux. Seeing her husband's success with the LINX Reflux Management System convinced her to undergo the procedure as well this past week.
"I feel confident the doctor can do the same for me," she said. "If he doesn't, I'm going to be really unhappy."
Scott & White Hospital Round Rock is the only Central Texas Healthcare facility currently offering the LINX Reflux Management System procedure. Click here for more information.