Hiatal hernia occurs when some of the stomach moves up through the diaphragm and into the chest. This can cause GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. GERD occurs when gastric acid from the stomach comes back into the lower esophagus.
What is laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication?
Laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication is a surgery used to treat hiatal hernia and/or GERD. The surgery is a reconfiguration of the stomach muscle where it is wrapped around the lower esophagus. Laparoscopic surgery means that the procedure is minimally invasive with only small incisions (0.5-1.5cm) being made. This allows surgeons to complete the procedure at a distance from the targeted surgical area, while also minimizing the incision size.
Laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication restores the stomach’s important function of closing off the esophagus to keep gastric acid from entering back into the esophagus. Laparoscopic Nissen fundoplicationtakes the stomach muscle and wraps it around the esophagus. Then, that part of the stomach is stitched to the lower esophagus to support the closing function of the stomach.Laparoscopic Nissenfundoplication thus reduces GERD symptoms and the likelihood of hiatal hernia.
The need for laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication
Generally, small hiatal hernias are not symptomatic. If they are large and severe, however, laparoscopicNissen fundoplication may be necessary.
When other treatments (like antacids and other reflux-reducing drugs) have failed, laparoscopicNissen fundoplication can help minimize the impact of GERD.
Although laparoscopicNissen fundoplication is usually considered a safe procedure, occasional complications can include:
- Difficulty swallowing. Because laparoscopicNissen fundoplication involves reconfiguration of the muscles around the esophagus, swallowing may become more challenging.
- Gas bloat syndrome. Laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication may influence the stomach’s ability to remove swallowed air after burping. This can lead to a collection of gas in the stomach or small intestine.
- Dumping syndrome. This occurs when food passes too quickly through the stomach into the small intestine. The food is mostly undigested and can cause further problems.
- Scarring. Tissues near the surgical site can be scarred.
- Achalasia.This is a rare complication that occurs when the smooth muscles of the esophagus don’t relaxand cause difficulty moving food and drink into the stomach.
In rare cases, the laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication can reverse and cause a recurrence of symptoms. Other surgical options may be necessary if the new symptoms are severe.
If you are interested in laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication, call us to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.