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Adult Open Nissen Fundoplication


  • An open Nissen fundoplication (fun-do-pli-KA-shun) is surgery to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD occurs when the lower muscle of the esophagus, called the lower esophageal sphincter, does not close properly. The esophagus is the tube that carries food and liquid from the throat to the stomach. GERD causes the stomach acid and food in the stomach reflux (back up) into the esophagus. When the acid irritates and damages the esophagus, it may cause a burning feeling called heartburn.
  • With an open Nissen fundoplication, an incision (cut) is made in your abdomen to show your lower esophagus and stomach. During this surgery, your caregiver wraps the upper portion of the stomach around the esophagus. This is done to put pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter and prevent reflux. With an open Nissen fundoplication, the symptoms of GERD may be relieved and damage to your esophagus prevented.



  • Keep a current list of your medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Use vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
  • Take your medicine as directed: Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him about any medicine allergies, and if you want to quit taking or change your medicine.
  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Bathing with stitches:

Follow your primary healthcare provider's instructions on when you can bathe. Gently wash the part of your body that has the stitches. Do not rub on the stitches to dry your skin. Pat the area gently with a towel. When the area is dry, put on a clean, new bandage as directed.


As you recover from surgery, you may be given soft foods to eat or thickened liquids to drink. You may be placed on a full diet as your swallowing gets better. A caregiver, called a dietitian, may talk to you about your feeding and nutrition. A swallowing therapist may also help if you continue to have trouble swallowing. This person has special training to help people learn safer ways to swallow. The swallowing therapist will also help you learn which foods and liquids are safe to eat and drink. You may also need to do the following to prevent swallowing too much gas (air) and keep your stomach from swelling:

  • Avoid drinking carbonated beverages, such as sodas, colas, sparkling water, lemonade, and fruit punch.
  • Do not suck sweets, chew gum, or use a straw when drinking.
  • Eat slowly, take small bites, and chew your food well.

Rest when you need to while you heal after surgery.

Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed.


  • You have a fever.
  • You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
  • You have nausea (upset stomach) or vomiting (throwing up).
  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
  • You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery, condition, or care.


  • You feel so full and cannot burp or vomit (throw up).
  • You have pus or a foul-smelling odor coming from your incision.
  • You have severe chest pain and trouble breathing all of a sudden.
  • You have trouble swallowing.
  • Your abdomen becomes tender and hard.
  • Your bandage becomes soaked with blood.
  • Your bowel movements are black, bloody, or tarry-looking.
  • Your vomit looks like coffee grounds or has blood in it.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
  • You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.
  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.