Possible complications of Nissen fundoplication surgery include difficulty swallowing, recurrence of heartburn, excess gas, bloating or discomfort, and the typical risks of anesthesia and major surgery, according to WebMD. Some patients find the side effects of surgery as uncomfortable as their original GERD symptoms, but there is no way to reverse the procedure.
Nissen fundoplication is a laparoscopic surgical procedure to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease, explains the MUSC Health Digestive Disease Center. It strengthens the valve between the esophagus and stomach, reducing reflux and allowing the esophagus to heal. Surgery is an option for patients with GERD who have not found relief with medication or cannot continue medication long-term. For many patients, surgery is not a good option because the risks outweigh the potential benefits, advises WebMD. Most patients who have the surgery experience relief of symptoms and healing of the esophagus, but over time, symptoms may come back or new symptoms may appear.
The procedure requires general anesthesia and involves a hospital stay of two to three days, and patients typically return to their normal routine within two to three weeks, states WebMD. During recovery from the surgery, the patient may need to stick to soft foods. Additionally, he should chew thoroughly and eat slowly, which gives the food more time to travel through the esophagus.