Learning About Magnetic Sphincter Augmentation (MSA) for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

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Location of lower esophageal sphincter between esophagus and stomach, with detail of the sphincter and stomach acid.

What is the magnetic sphincter augmentation (MSA) device for GERD?

The magnetic sphincter augmentation (MSA) device (also known as Linx Reflux Management System) is a small ring of magnetic beads. It helps keep acid in your stomach. It's used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus, the tube that carries food and liquid to your stomach.

How can it help with GERD?

The MSA device is placed around the base of the esophagus where it meets the stomach. The device helps keep the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) closed. That's the valve between your stomach and esophagus. It helps stop food from going back up into the esophagus.

The device keeps the valve closed when you aren't eating. When you swallow, it allows the valve to open so food can pass through. This helps keep stomach acid out of the esophagus.

Your doctor might suggest getting the device if other treatments haven't helped your symptoms. Some people with GERD may be helped by a device. Others may need different types of surgeries.

How is it inserted?

You will need a minor surgery to insert the MSA device. You will be asleep during the surgery. You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider.

Your doctor will make a few small cuts (incisions) in your belly. The doctor will use special tools to insert the device through one of the cuts and attach it around your lower esophagus. A thin, lighted tube, or scope, in another cut will allow the doctor to see inside your belly.

It takes about 30 minutes to an hour to place the device. You may be able to go home the same day or the next day.

What are the side effects?

After getting an MSA device, some people have trouble swallowing. This may last up to a few weeks. You may also have pain in the chest, vomiting, or nausea.

What can you expect?

You can eat your normal diet after an MSA device is placed. You may want to take smaller bites and chew well.

You may get an implant card for the device. The card will let other doctors know about your device when you visit them. You may not be able to have an MRI scan because it can interact with the magnets in the MSA device.

The device can be removed if you have problems with it or if it doesn't help your reflux.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.