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Fundoplication surgery wraps the upper stomach around the lower esophagus. It reduces the amount of acid that enters the esophagus from the stomach. This procedure can:

  • Eliminate gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms that are not relieved by medication
  • Reduce acid reflux that is contributing to asthma symptoms
  • Repair a hiatal hernia, which may be responsible for making GERD symptoms worse
  • Reduce of serious, long-term complications resulting from too much acid in the esophagus
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What to Expect

Evaluation Steps

Your doctor may do the following:

  • Physical exam
  • X-ray with contrast, to assess the level of reflux and evidence of damage
  • Endoscopy 
  • Manometry — a test to measure the muscular contractions inside the esophagus and its response to swallowing

Preparing for Fundoplication

  • Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure, like:
    • Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen
    • Blood thinners
    • Anti-platelet medications
  • Arrange for a ride to and from the hospital. Also, arrange for help at home.
  • The night before, eat a light meal. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.

The Fundoplication Procedure

Your surgeon will:

  • Make a wide incision in your abdomen to expose the stomach and lower esophagus
  • Wrap the upper portion of the stomach around the esophagus, creating pressure on the lower part of the esophagus

If a hiatal hernia exists, the surgeon will:

  • Place your stomach back in the abdomen
  • Tighten the opening where the stomach had poked through the diaphragm 

Fundoplication Facts

The procedure:

  • Requires general anesthesia to block any pain and keep you asleep through the surgery
  • Takes 2-4 hours
  • Will cause discomfort during recovery
  • Can results in a hospital stay of 2-4 days


After the procedure, you can expect to:

  • Walk with assistance the day after surgery
  • Keep the incision area clean and dry
  • Wait until your doctor says it's safe to shower, bathe or soak in water
  • Start by eating a liquid diet
  • No longer need to take medicines for GERD

Possible Risks

Possible complications, which may include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Return of reflux symptoms
  • Limited ability to burp or vomit
  • Gas pains
  • Damage to organs
  • Anesthesia-related problems

In rare cases, you may need the procedure repeated. This may happen if the wrap was too tight, the wrap slips, or if a new hernia forms.

Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Pre-existing heart or lung condition
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Prior upper abdominal surgery

After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
  • Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medications you were given after surgery, or which persist for more than two days after discharge from the hospital
  • Increased swelling or pain in the abdomen
  • Difficulty swallowing that does not improve
  • Pain that you cannot control with the medications you have been given
  • Pain, burning, urgency or frequency of urination, or persistent bleeding in the urine
  • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
  • Any other new symptoms

In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.


Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.