What Are Some Long-Term Effects of Nissen Fundoplication?

Long-term effects of Nissen fundoplication surgery for gastroesophageal disease, or GERD, include increased flatulence, difficulty swallowing, bloating from gas buildup, and difficulty burping or belching, reports WebMD. The surgery may take weeks to recover from, and patients may need to permanently change their eating habits. The curative effects of the initial surgery are sometimes temporary, necessitating a second surgery, explains MedlinePlus.

Doctors recommend fundoplication surgery to treat symptoms of GERD when medications are not completely effective or patients cannot take long-term medications because of the side effects, according to WebMD. The surgery involves wrapping part of the stomach around the esophagus and stitching it into place. If the patient also has a hiatal hernia, which is common with GERD, the surgeon repairs this as well. If the surgeon performs open surgery with a general anesthetic, the patient may remain in the hospital for several days and can resume normal activities in four to six weeks. If the surgeon performs laparoscopic surgery, which involves only small incisions, the patient can leave the hospital within a few days and resume activities in two to three weeks.

After surgery, patients must stick to soft foods until the wounds heal, points out WebMD. In the long term, they may need to eat more slowly and chew their food better to enable it to travel more easily through the esophagus. Some patients find the side effects of the surgery as annoying as symptoms of GERD, but doctors cannot reverse the procedure. A second surgery does not always relieve the side effects.