Medical Technology

Implantable Magnetic Bracelets for Gerd Treatment



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The use of magnetic bracelets has become a fashion in many cultures although it has been used for many decades as part of a treatment process known as "magnetic therapy." Being a pseudoscience, there is no scientific evidence to suggest whether these devices are effective or even affect the body systems as expected by the practitioners of this type of treatment. However, a newly invented device used by surgeons of the same name has started to give a new meaning to the term "magnetic bracelet" although its effect does not depend on the effects of its magnetic field on body systems.

The functions of implantable magnetic bracelet

According to an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a team of scientists has invented a magnetic bracelet that can be implanted at the lower portion of the esophagus as a remedy for those who are suffering from gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD). The device, once in place, supports the gastro-esophageal sphincter that acts as a one-way gate for foods that enter the stomach. In people with GERD, the gastro-esophageal sphincter may be weak and therefore allow the acidic gastric contents to reflux back into the esophagus and sometimes back into the throat. Thus, doctors believe that by placing the magnetic bracelet, it is possible to improve the function of the sphincter and therefore prevent the acids from entering the esophagus. However, the nature of the device is such that it can expand enough when food particles arrive through the esophagus in order to enter the stomach.

Procedure of implanting the magnetic bracelet for GERD treatment

The implantation of the magnetic bracelet is a surgery performed through laparoscopic devices and can be completed in about half an hour. The recovery time following the surgery is said to be rather quick although some patients may have swallowing difficulties in the initial few months after the implantation. According to the published research, out of 100 patients who have received this treatment, around 86% no longer required acid lowering medicines after about one year following the implant. It should be told that all these patients were on acid-lowering medicines and have been suffering from GERD for more than 10 years without any significant improvement in their symptoms. However, due to ongoing difficulties in swallowing as well as due to certain other reasons, a few have to undergo removal of the implanted magnetic bracelets.

Secondary uses of implantable GERD treatment devices

Another positive aspect of using the implanted magnetic bracelet for treating GERD is the necessity for the patients to adopt a certain food practice in order to avoid swallowing difficulties in the first few months. This made many patients lose a few extra pounds and without knowledge, they were able to maintain the same practice even when they are capable of swallowing foods in the usual form and quantity.

However, it is still early days for the implantable magnetic bracelet for the treatment of acid reflux. Nevertheless, given the positive results so far, it can be argued that the implantable magnetic bracelet could become the preferred mode of treatment for those who do not respond to acid-reducing medicines and for those who have been suffering from GERD for many years without any success with treatment.

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