Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication

This webpage will give you information about a laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.

What is acid reflux?

Acid reflux is a condition where acid from the stomach travels up into the oesophagus (gullet). This happens if the valve between the stomach and the oesophagus does not work effectively. Acid reflux can cause ‘heartburn’ or acid in the back of the mouth.

What are the benefits of surgery?

Surgery is aimed at curing the symptoms of acid reflux.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Drugs that lower the acid content in the stomach are effective at controlling symptoms and healing inflammation.

Surgery is recommended only if the symptoms continue or if you would rather have an operation than take medication for the rest of your life.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes between one and two hours.


Your surgeon will make several small cuts on your abdomen. They will place surgical instruments, along with a telescope, inside your abdomen and perform the operation (see figure 1).


Your surgeon will stitch the diaphragm to reduce the size of the hole the oesophagus passes through. They will then wrap and stitch the top part of the stomach around the lower oesophagus.


The Technique for Laparoscopic Surgery

What complications can happen?

1 General complications

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Unsightly scarring
  • Developing a hernia in the scar
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Blood clots

2 Specific complications

  • Damage to internal organs
  • Developing a hernia near one of the cuts
  • Surgical emphysema
  • Air in the chest cavity
  • Making a hole in the oesophagus or stomach
  • Tear of the stitches used for the wrap
  • Damage to the liver
  • Damage to the spleen
  • Difficulty swallowing

Long-term problems

  • Incomplete control of reflux symptoms
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Diarrhoea

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the next day. 

You should be able to return to work after three to four weeks depending on the extent of surgery and your type of work. 

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, you should ask a member of the healthcare team or your GP for advice. 

You should make a full recovery, with the symptoms of acid reflux gone or much improved.


Acid reflux can cause heartburn or acid in the mouth. The acid can cause the lining of the oesophagus to become inflamed or scarred. Surgery may be recommended if your symptoms continue while you are on medication.


Author: Mr Simon Parsons DM FRCS (Gen. Surg.)

Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © 2011 Nucleus Medical Art. All rights reserved. 

This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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