Nissen Fundoplication: Before Your Surgery

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What is a Nissen fundoplication?

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

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

This is usually a laparoscopic surgery. This means the doctor makes small cuts in your belly to do the surgery. These cuts are called incisions. The doctor puts a lighted tube, or scope, and other surgical tools through the incisions. The doctor is able to see your organs with the scope. Most people stay in the hospital 2 to 3 days. You will probably be able to go back to work in 2 to 3 weeks. It depends on the type of work you do.

Your doctor may do an open surgery instead. He or she makes a larger incision in the middle of your belly. You will probably stay in the hospital for 4 or 5 days after open surgery. Most people are able to go back to work 4 to 6 weeks after the surgery.

The type of surgery you have depends on your health needs. 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 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.

What happens before surgery?

Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.

Preparing for surgery

  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Tell your doctors ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some of these can increase the risk of bleeding or interact with anesthesia.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if you should stop taking these medicines before your surgery. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Your doctor will tell you which medicines to take or stop before your surgery. You may need to stop taking certain medicines a week or more before surgery. So talk to your doctor as soon as you can.
  • If you have an advance care plan, let your doctor know. Bring a copy to the hospital. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets your doctor and loved ones know your health care wishes. Doctors advise that everyone prepare these papers before any type of surgery or procedure.

What happens on the day of surgery?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
  • Take off all jewellery and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the hospital or surgery centre

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • The area for surgery is often marked to make sure there are no errors.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. You will be asleep during the surgery.
  • The surgery will take about 2 to 3 hours.

Going home

  • Be sure you have someone to drive you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine make it unsafe for you to drive.
  • You will be given more specific instructions about recovering from your surgery. They will cover things like diet, wound care, follow-up care, driving, and getting back to your normal routine.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your surgery.
  • You become ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the surgery.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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