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Heartburn no more: Woman says new surgery has improved quality of life tremendously

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Thanksgiving dinner -- check.  Comfy pants -- check.  TV remote and recliner -- check!

They're Thanksgiving traditions for many, but so is unwanted heartburn after stuffing yourself at the dinner table.

Luckily, there’s a newer option for chronic heartburn sufferers.

“It was just, it burns, right there, it`s horrible,” Karen Rankin said. “It was uncomfortable, and then I hated popping that pill every day.”

The 74-year-old used to have to watch her diet and had trouble sleeping.

She had surgery at St. Luke’s Hospital in February after suffering from heartburn and reflux for years.

“I had it for probably 25 years, and I had been on medication, I would imagine, 20 years,” Rankin said.

She started having side effects from her medication, she said, and she was just tired of the constant annoyance.

“I missed being able to eat the things I wanted to eat,” Rankin said. “Any time you have a meal, like tomatoes really bothered me, and I love tomatoes, so to be able to eat that is wonderful.”

So, she decided to have surgery and try something known as the LINX device.

Doctors say it sits around the lower esophagus and then stretches when you eat.

“It's basically a bracelet of magnets, which are attracted to each other, and it rests. They're all touching," said Todd Moore, a surgeon at St. Luke's. "As you eat and as food passes through, those magnets separate to allow the food to pass through. And once that passes through, they all attract again together and connect, which keeps you from refluxing."

Doctors say the device eliminates severe acid regurgitation in 99 percent of patients.

Rankin said her quality of life has improved tremendously.

“It is wonderful. I have had no medication since the surgery,” Rankin said.

If you suffer from acid reflux, there are a few things you can do that may help this Thanksgiving.

Moore said try to eat your big meal early in the day. Don't overeat and consider skipping the booze.

You'll also want to avoid a post-meal nap because reclining can also trigger reflux in some sufferers.