Fundoplication is a surgical procedure that helps treat some gastroesophageal conditions.
During a fundoplication for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), for example, a part the stomach is attached to the lower esophageal sphincter, which helps reduce acid reflux.
A fundoplication is a type of laparoscopic surgery. A surgeon will use a long, thin camera called a laparoscope, which allows the surgeon to make small incisions in the body and feed the laparoscope into place, rather than making larger cuts that expose the organs.
For a fundoplication, the surgeon will gather the uppermost part of the stomach, called the fundus, and gently wrap and suture it around the lower esophageal sphincter. This helps increase pressure in the esophagus and make acid reflux less likely.
A doctor may recommend a fundoplication to help treat the following conditions:
Fundoplication is also a standard treatment for hiatal hernias.
Hiatal hernias occur when a piece of the upper part of the stomach pushes out through an opening in the diaphragm, which is the muscle that separates the chest and the abdomen.
Some hiatal hernias may cause symptoms similar to those of GERD, including heartburn and acid reflux, making a thorough and accurate diagnosis important in each case.
During the surgery
A person having a fundoplication will be asleep under general anesthetics and will not feel any pain.
By wrapping and suturing the fundus to the lower esophageal sphincter, the surgery increases pressure in the lower esophagus.
This makes acid reflux less likely, as it adds enough force to help keep the esophageal sphincter closed.
As a laparoscopic surgery,fundoplication generally has a better recovery time than open surgery.
Laparoscopic surgeries are less invasive and only require a few small cuts in the body. These surgical wounds typically take less time to heal than larger cuts.
The process may also reduce the risk of long-term scarring, as well as pain during recovery.
After fundoplication surgery, a person can typically expect to go home from the hospital within 2 days. They will receive special instructions on how to care for their surgical wounds.
People will need to follow a special diet after fundoplication, as the stomach needs time to heal.
After this, it may be safe to gradually introduce regular foods again. This often includes working with a specialist to introduce soft foods at first, moving to solid foods with time.
Soft foods may include:
During the recovery period, it is important to work with a doctor or dietitian to ensure that the diet contains enough nutrients.
Although fundoplication surgery can help people control acid reflux and ease the symptoms, side effects are possible.
- Increased abdominal gas
- pain in the abdomen
- Increased flatulence
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