What is a fundoplication?

Fundoplication is a surgery that prevents gastroesophageal reflux.

Gastroesophageal reflux is a backward flow or reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus. Everybody has some reflux. Reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter muscle between the esophagus and the stomach opens and allows stomach contents to flow back up into the esophagus. Abnormal amounts of gastroesophageal reflux can cause gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

If lifestyle measures and medications do not adequately treat GERD, your doctor may recommend fundoplication. The goal of surgery is to prevent excess flow of stomach contents into the esophagus.

 

What is done during a fundoplication?

A fundoplication is usually done using laparoscopic techniques. This involves small incisions that allow the surgeon to look inside the abdomen with a small flexible camera and perform the surgery.  There are different types of fundoplication surgery. Your surgeon will decide what type of fundoplication is best for you.

 

How do I get ready for fundoplication surgery?

Your surgery may take place at Saint Joseph Hospital. You will receive information from National Jewish Health and Saint Joseph Hospital on preparing for surgery. Follow these instructions closely or your surgery may need to be canceled.

 
What can I expect?

The surgery lasts about 3 hours. Most people who have a fundoplication stay in the hospital for 1 – 2 days, although some people require a longer hospital stay. You can expect to have some physical limitations when you go home. Return to full physical activity is gradual, and may take 6 – 8 weeks.

Transition to a normal diet may take 2 – 4 weeks or longer. The doctor and nurse will review what to expect before, during and after the surgery. The doctor will also explain the risks and benefits of this surgery in more detail.

 

This information has been approved by Michael Weyant, MD and Michelle MacDonald, RDN (April 2016).