ECU offers new surgical procedure for chronic heartburn

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - It's a common problem that millions of people in the United States suffer from and they often times use medication to treat the symptoms, but doctors in the east say they there's a more permanent solution that could get you off medication forever.

It's a metal ring called Linx. It's the size of a quarter and is inserted laparoscopically into the lower part of the esophagus to prevent the regurgitation of stomach acid.

For Genes Norris, he had been taking medication for acid reflux for the past 40 years.

Back in February, Dr. Carlos Anciano with the Brody School of Medicine performed the surgery at Vidant Medical Center.

He say this is one of 9,000 procedures performed with the Linx device in the world.

Dr. Anciano says without this procedure, sufferers continue to use medication that just covers up the problem that could make it worse over time.

"The esophageal cancer rates have been the highest rates they've every been, they've increased over 600% in the last 20 years, which coincidentally matches when people started using antacid medications over the counter, we're not saying the caused the problem, but they mask the problem at hand," he says.

Dr. Anciano says this is an outpatient procedure that most insurance companies will cover.