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What are the side effects of fundoplication?

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Quick Answer

Along with the normal risks of major surgery and anesthesia, patients who undergo a fundoplication procedure sometimes experience difficulty swallowing, a lack of support of the esophageal valve, excess gas and bloating, according to WebMD. In some patients, the initial heartburn returns after surgery.

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Full Answer

Fundoplication is a surgical procedure for people experiencing gastroesophageal reflux disease. During the procedure, a surgeon wraps the lower portion of the esophagus with the upper curve of the stomach and stitches it into place to provide additional support for the lower valve that prevents the contents of the stomach from entering the esophagus. Strengthening of the valve allows the esophagus to heal from the damage GERD causes, reports WebMD.

For most patients, fundoplication provides relief of GERD. However, if the surgeon wraps the stomach around the esophagus too tightly, the patient often experiences difficulty swallowing. If this occurs, the patient requires a second surgery to correct the swallowing problem, reports MedlinePlus.

For some patients, the side effects are more painful than the initial GERD. The surgery is permanent and irreversible. Even with a second procedure, the patient may continue to experience bloating and be unable to expel gas through burping. For patients who tolerate the use of medication to treat GERD, the surgery is not a good choice, according to WebMD.

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