Medicine and the practice of healing is both a science and evolving art. Medical practitioners and researchers are continually searching for answers. Whether looking for the root cause of symptoms, ways to treat those symptoms, or better ways to deliver current treatments to enhance the patient experience, the quest is relentless. Medicine is an evidence-based practice that applauds questioning the status quo in the name of finding a better way or outcome. Medicine is not a practice of doing what has always been done, but that of finding patterns and using what is known to logically test new theories. The art of medicine is in the creative, out-of-the-box thinking, a collaboration between specialties, and never settling.

In today’s post, we would like to take time to highlight how evidence-based medical practice is giving hope to those who suffer from GERD and chronic acid reflux in a peer-reviewed journal article review.

Comparing Laparoscopic Magnetic Sphincter Augmentation and Prescription Medication as Treatments for GERD

In the peer-reviewed journal article “Laparoscopic Magnetic Sphincter Augmentation Versus Double-Dose Proton Pump Inhibitors for Management of Moderate-to-Severe Regurgitation in GERD: A Randomized Controlled Trial“ that will be published in January’s volume of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Journal (GIE), the authors detail a randomized controlled trial that compares classic medication treatments and laparoscopic magnetic sphincter augmentation (MSA).

Prescription and over-the-counter proton-pump inhibitors (PPI) have been the standard of care for treating the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) for years. However, these medications do not treat the root cause of regurgitation which is often a weak lower esophageal sphincter.

The study follows 152 patients who suffer from chronic GERD. Of these 152 patients, 102 were prescribed twice-daily (BID) PPIs, and the other 50 were treated using MSA. A six-month study was conducted to follow-up with all of the patients to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatments. The study concluded that 89 percent of the patients who were treated with MSA reported relief of regurgitation and symptoms of GERD, while only 10 percent of those who were treated with PPIs BID found relief. The reduction in regurgitation was directly positively correlated to an improved quality of life. Additionally, there were no significant safety issues identified with MSA treatment.

Offering Hope to Those With GERD

The results of this study offer hope to those who suffer from GERD. The idea of using magnetic sphincters for the treatment of GERD has been studied for nearly a decade, and safety for the patient has always been the main concern. A 2008 study of the safety outcomes resulting from the use of MSA in people was conducted (Ganz, et. al), and since then, evidence has continued to propel the evolution and safety of the MSA treatment. Currently, it is a feasible, minimally-invasive option for patients who have not found relief from symptoms with traditional treatment options including PPIs.

Dr. Smith at Southern Reflux Center

At Southern Reflux Center, Georgia’s premier reflux treatment center, we are proud to have Dr. Christopher C. Smith, one of the researchers who participated in this study, on our team. Dr. Smith, along with the entire skilled team at Southern Reflux Center provides world-class treatment of GERD to patients from across the nation, seeking relief from their symptoms. We offer MSA treatment with the LINX Reflux Management System. To see if you are a candidate for the LINX procedure, contact Southern Reflux Center for your consultation today.


Bell, R., Lipham, J., Louie, B., Williams, V., Luketich, J., Hill, M., Richards, W., Dunst, C., Lister, D., McDowell-Jacobs, L., Reardon, P., Woods, K., Gould, C., Buckley, F.P., Kothari, S., Khaitan, L., Smith, C. D., Park, A., Smith, C., Jacobsen, G., Abbas, G., & Katz, P. (2019). Laparoscopic magnetic sphincter augmentation versus double-dose proton pump inhibitors for management of moderate-to-severe regurgitation in GERD: a randomized controlled trial. Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (GIE), Vol 89(1), Pgs 14-22.e1.

Ganz, R.A., Gostout, C.J., Grudem, J., Swanson, W., Berg, T., & DeMeester, T.R. (2008). Use of a magnetic sphincter for the treatment of GERD: a feasibility study. Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (GIE), Vol 67(2), Pgs 287-294.