ROUND ROCK, Texas, April 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month, and some studies suggest that more than 15 million Americans experience heartburn symptoms every single day. General Surgeon F. Paul Buckley III, MD, at Scott & White Hospital – Round Rock performed a first in Central Texas and one of just a few hospitals in the nation utilizing the LINX Reflux Management System on two patients suffering from debilitating Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), a chronic disease allowing gastric fluid to reflux into the esophagus. The device was recently approved by the FDA. Nationally, Scott & White Healthcare - Round Rock ( heartburn.sw.org) is one of only a few centers performing this procedure. "For the first time, patients in our region have access to relief from their reflux disease through this minimally-invasive procedure which is performed laparoscopically," said Dr. Buckley, who serves as Director of the Division of General Surgery and Surgical Director of the Heartburn and Acid Reflux Center (HARC) at Scott & White – Round Rock. "While medications remain a popular choice for GERD sufferers, they often don't control all of the symptoms of GERD, have potential side-effects and can be costly. The device offers a new and innovative alternative to traditional surgery and has excellent results." "We're excited to offer this treatment option for patients who are appropriate candidates; it represents another example of our commitment to providing the highest quality patient care," said Melvin Lau, MD, Gastroenterologist and Medical Director of the Heartburn and Acid Reflux Center (HARC) at Scott & White – Round Rock. "Signs of reflux disease include heartburn, regurgitation, and acid reflux, resulting in chronic pain and severe injury to the esophagus," said Dr. Lau. "This device is implanted in the lower esophageal sphincter. A magnetic beaded bracelet is placed around the esophagus where it joins the stomach. It opens and closes with normal swallowing, but provides enough pressure to prevent acid reflux," added Dr. Buckley. A study published in the February edition of the New England Journal of Medicine reported that 93 percent of patients that underwent the LINX procedure reported a significant decrease in the need for medication with 100 percent reporting the elimination of severe regurgitation. "This new advancement revolutionizes the surgical treatment of reflux disease," said Dr. Buckley. "I believe that we will improve the overall quality of life for our patients suffering from GERD through this less invasive surgical option."