Robot assisted LINX procedure is a minimally invasive approach that involves use of Da Vinci Xi robot that allow a surgeon to place a magnetic sphincter (LINX) device around the esophagus through several tiny incisions, most of which are less than a half-centimeter in size. The concept of the repair is to place a new sphincter between the esophagus and the stomach. The advantages of this method include a shorter hospitalization, less pain, fewer and smaller scars, and a shorter recovery.
Robot assisted LINX placement is a safe and effective treatment for GERD. However, in the presence of infection, adhesions, or variations in anatomy, this method becomes dangerous and your surgeon may need to make the prudent decision to continue by making the traditional incision to safely complete the operation. This should not be seen as a failure, but as a wise decision by your surgeon to prevent dangerous complications. Other complications include gas bloat syndrome which is patient being unable to belch and leading to discomfort and trouble swallowing. Other rare complications, include bleeding and infection. It is uncommon to require a blood transfusion for this operation. There is a slight risk of injury to the vagus nerve, esophagus, liver, stomach, bowel, lung, and spleen. Post-operatively, rare problems may occur, these include difficulty with swallowing.
After the operation, patients take regular diet right away. Most important part of the recovery after surgery is to take spoonful of yogurt every hour for 2 weeks along with regular diet. This allows the LINX device to work properly. The typical hospital stay is 1 day at times patients can go home same day, and many patients can return to work after two weeks. If the surgery is done open instead of laparoscopically, patients may need to take about 6 weeks off work. Heavy lifting is typically restricted for six weeks or more.
Long Term Outcome
LINX device has shown to provide excellent control of reflux with less side effects of bloating.