A laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication is the standard surgery done to treat gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD). This surgery involves restoring normal functioning in your body's natural reflux barrier, the lower esophageal sphincter.
While medication can be prescribed to decrease acid production in the stomach and prevent damage to the esophagus from acid refluxed up from the stomach, in cases of severe regurgitation and incomplete healing of the esophagus, a laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication may be advised to repair the lower esophageal sphincter.
This surgery is generally performed using laparoscopic, keyhole techniques which offers the least invasive surgical approach, quicker recovery and minimal scarring.
Prior to surgery an upper endoscopy and a barium swallow x-ray is done to assess any narrowing in the esophagus and also to look for any hiatal hernia that may need to be repaired.
A laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication is done under general anaesthesia. Small incisions are then made near the lower esophageal sphincter. Using small thin surgical tools and a laparoscope with a camera and light at the end, Dr Heyns can view inside your body without the need for larger incisions.
Any scar tissue on the oesophagus is then removed and the upper portion of the stomach known as the fundus is then wrapped around the lower esophagus and sewn in place. This reinforces the lower esophageal sphincter, making it less likely that acid will back up in the esophagus. The hiatal hernia is repaired.
Upon waking from surgery, you can expect some pain near the incisions. Since the surgery was performed laparoscopically, you can expect shorter recovery time and less pain. You will be discharged after a day or two of hospital stay. Thereafter you should rest for the next 2-3 weeks before returning to your normal routine.