Nissen Fundoplication is a minimal-invasive surgical procedure focused on strengthening your lower esophageal sphincter (LES).
LES is a muscular valve, which separates the esophagus from your stomach. In 1956, Dr. Rudolf Nissen introduced the Fundoplication procedure to treat GERD [Gastroesophageal reflux disease].
In GERD, the patients struggle with a backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus, which causes several health issues.
The main goal of the Fundoplication procedure is to strengthen the LES and prevent the reflux of stomach acid enter into the esophagus.
1. Procedure and Techniques
Nissen Fundoplication is executed using minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, although open surgery may be considered in specific cases.
Your surgeon makes a few small incisions around the abdomen to insert a flexible thin tube linked to a camera and surgical tools [laparoscope].
The upper portion of the fundus is wrapped up around at the end of your esophagus. This creates a valve-like mechanism.
This wrapped portion is sutured in place, which strengthens the LES and prevents acid reflux.
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2. Signs of Fundoplication
Candidates for the Nissen procedure may experience symptoms such as frequent heartburn, regurgitation, difficulty swallowing, persistent cough, or complications like esophagitis, strictures, or Barrett’s esophagus.
The surgeon will prescribe various diagnostic tests to confirm as well as evaluate the severity of GERD. Diagnostic tests include endoscopy, pH monitoring, or esophageal motility studies.
3. Benefits and Outcomes
GERD patients enjoy several benefits after the Fundoplication procedure.
- Significantly reduces or eliminates acid reflux symptoms, allowing individuals to experience relief from heartburn, regurgitation, and associated discomfort.
- Studies have shown that Fundoplication can improve the quality of life, reduce the need for medication, and minimize the risk of long-term complications such as esophageal damage or Barrett’s esophagus.
4. Potential Risks
- Adverse reactions to anesthesia
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Gas bloat syndrome
5. Post-Operative Care and Recovery
After Nissen Fundoplication, patients typically stay in the hospital for a few days to monitor their recovery.
During the initial recovery period, they will follow a liquid or soft food diet and gradually transition to a regular diet under the guidance of their healthcare team.
Many patient’s go back to their normal routine within a few weeks. However, full recovery takes several months, so remember to stay away from strenuous activities, heavy lifting, or specific food.
Nissen Fundoplication is a surgical procedure used to address severe cases of GERD that do not respond to conservative treatments. The lower esophagus sphincter is strengthened surgically.
It will reduce acid reflux symptoms, improve life quality, and lessen the associated complications. While the procedure carries certain risks, it has proven favorable for many patients.