Serious acid reflux is known as GERD, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. You may have tried managing this disease with over-the-counter or prescription medications such as Nexium or with dietary changes such as avoiding foods and liquids that trigger the acid reflux without getting any relief. If left untreated, stomach acid may cause tissue damage to the esophagus which may make it difficult to swallow.
There are two methods used for a fundoplication operation, open surgery or laparoscopy. Your surgeon will discuss the best approach for your individual anatomical requirements. A fundoplication procedure is performed as an in-patient operation. You will be given a general anesthesia before the surgery to ensure you are asleep and pain-free during the operation. Depending on the complexity of your physical condition and the type of operation being performed, the entire procedure requires 45 minutes to 2 hours for completion. You will remain in the hospital for a few days following the surgery for observation. Depending on the type of operation you have, a full recovery may require 2 to 3 weeks for a laparoscopic procedure or 4 to 6 weeks for an open surgery.
Before your fundoplication, your surgeon will instruct you on how to prepare for the surgery and what you will need to do while healing. Instructions will include proper home health care, dietary restrictions, cleaning of the surgical site, physical activity limitations, potential after surgery side effects, when to return to a normal daily routine, and when to schedule follow up office visits.
For this operation, your surgeon makes a few small incisions in your abdomen. A laparoscope, a thin medical instrument with an attached camera is inserted into one incision so that your surgeon will have an enlarged view of the surgical area. Additional medical instruments are inserted in the other incisions. The fundus, the upper curve of your stomach, is wrapped around your esophagus and stitched in place to reinforce the valve between the LES and the esophagus. The instruments are removed, and the incisions are closed with sutures that will either need to be removed at a follow-up visit or they may not need to be removed.
If a laparoscopic fundoplication is not advisable, you may need to have an open operation. For this procedure, one large incision is made in the chest area where the surgeon uses his hands and surgical instruments to make the necessary repairs to your LES. At the end of the surgery, your incision is closed with sutures that will either remain in place or be removed during a follow-up office visit.