Nissen fundoplication surgery is often called a complete or a 360-degree fundoplication used to treat GERD or gastro esophageal reflux disease and a hiatal hernia. Both of these ailments are caused when muscles and sphincters in the stomach, and esophagus do not work properly, allowing acid to back up into the esophagus. In the case of a hiatal hernia, a portion of the stomach muscles just out into the chest cavity. Usually a Para esophageal surgery will be tried as a first resort, and only dire situations such as ulcers, bleeding and the formation of abnormal cells in the esophagus will trigger the need for a full fundoplication.
The Nissen fundoplication surgery is named after a Swiss doctor who first performed the surgery in the 1950s. In this surgery, the upper part of the stomach is wrapped around the lower portion of the esophagus in order to help support the lower esophageal sphincter, which controls the closing off of the stomach once food, liquid or saliva travels down the pipe. Once the upper stomach is wrapped, it is stitched in place to contain the lower esophagus all the way around – thus the ‘full’ or 360-degree term is used. This procedure is also used to treat hiatal hernias as it keeps a secondary hernia from forming.
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Although the Nissen fundoplication surgery is considered safe in more than 90% of patients who undergo it, some side effects and complications are still possible. These are:
• Gas bloating syndrome – but can be reduced by changing ones diet (eliminate sodas, or spicy foods for example)
• Trouble swallowing correctly
• Excessive scarring
• An inability to belch or release stored gas
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome
• Excessive vomiting
Though these complications are rare, and most patients who undergo the surgery are asymptomatic several weeks post surgery, anyone considering having this surgery should go over possible contraindications prior to scheduling a surgery date or hospital stay. Nissen fundoplication surgery is helpful in treating GERD and hiatal hernias, but should only be used as a last resort, as with any other form of surgery.
Care should be taken to rest and convalesce peacefully once your GERD or hiatal hernia surgery has been completed. As with many types of surgery, Nissen fundoplication surgery will require several days of recovery after being under general anesthesia, and to allow fluids from the stomach and incision sites to be emitted from the body while it heals.