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Learning About Fundoplication Surgery

What is fundoplication surgery?

Fundoplication surgery is done to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In this surgery, the doctor strengthens the valve between the stomach and the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach.

A strong valve prevents stomach acid from moving back into the esophagus. The doctor will wrap the upper part of the stomach (fundus) around the lower part of the esophagus. After surgery, you should have fewer symptoms of GERD, such as heartburn.

How is it done?

In this surgery, the doctor wraps the upper part of the stomach (fundus) around the lower part of the esophagus.

It's most often done as laparoscopic surgery. The doctor puts a lighted tube, or scope, and other surgical tools through small incisions (cuts) in your belly. The doctor is able to see your organs with the scope. Most people stay in the hospital 2 to 3 days.

Your doctor may do an open surgery. The doctor makes a larger cut in the middle of your belly. You will probably stay in the hospital for 4 or 5 days after open surgery.

What can you expect after this surgery?

You may be sore and have some pain in your belly for several weeks. If you had laparoscopic surgery, you also may have pain near your shoulder for a day or two.

It may be hard for you to swallow for up to 6 weeks.

You may also have cramping in your belly, feel bloated, or pass more gas than before. The cramping and bloating usually go away in 2 to 3 months. But you may keep passing more gas for a long time. When you burp, you may not get as much relief as you did before the surgery. Or you may not be able to burp after surgery.

The surgery makes your stomach a little smaller, so you may get full more quickly when you eat. In 2 to 3 months, the stomach adjusts. You will be able to eat your usual amounts of food.

How quickly you recover depends on what type of surgery you had. After laparoscopic surgery, most people can go back to work or their normal routine in about 2 to 3 weeks. It depends on their work. After open surgery, you may need 4 to 6 weeks to get back to your normal routine.

The incisions from both types of surgeries leave scars that fade over time.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Where can you learn more?

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