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Open Pediatric Nissen Fundoplication


An open Nissen fundoplication is surgery to treat your child's gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). During this surgery, the top part of your child's stomach is wrapped around the lower part of his esophagus. This helps prevent stomach acid from moving up into his esophagus.


The week before your child's surgery:

  • Prepare the things that your child will need while in the hospital. These include his clothes, toothbrush, feeding materials, or toys.
  • Your child's healthcare provider may ask that you give him antibiotic medicine. This medicine prevents and treats infection.
  • Your child may need to have a barium swallow, esophageal pH monitoring, esophagoscopy, or upper gastrointestinal (GI) series. He may also need a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG), chest x-ray, or blood tests. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about these and other tests that you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.

The night before your child's surgery:

  • Your child's healthcare provider may ask you to give him medicine to help him sleep.
  • Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your child's surgery:

  • Write down the date, time, and location of your child's surgery.
  • Ask your child's healthcare provider before giving any medicine on the day of your child's surgery. Bring all the medicines your child is taking, including the pill bottles, to the hospital.
  • Dress your child in loose, comfortable clothing. Have him wear socks to help him stay warm.
  • Healthcare providers will insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your child's vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, he may be given liquids and medicine.
  • An anesthesiologist may talk to you before your child's surgery. This healthcare provider may give your child medicine to make him sleepy before surgery.
  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a consent form. It gives your child's healthcare provider permission to do the surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen and your choices. Be sure all your questions have been answered before you sign this form.


What will happen:

  • Your child will be taken to the operating room. His chest and abdomen will be cleaned with soap and water. Healthcare providers will give him general anesthesia to keep him asleep and pain free during surgery. An incision will be made on the center of your child's abdomen. Through it, healthcare providers will work on your child's stomach and esophagus.
  • Healthcare providers will free the upper part of your child's stomach from other structures attached to it. The upper part of your child's stomach will be wrapped around his esophagus and secured in place. A tube may be put through your child's abdomen and into his stomach to feed him through. The incision is closed with stitches or surgical staples or tapes and covered with a bandage.

After your child's surgery:

Your child will be taken to a room until he is fully awake. Healthcare providers will watch him closely for any problems. You may be able to come in and sit with your child. Do not let your child get out of bed until his healthcare provider says it is OK. When healthcare providers see that your child is OK, he will be taken back to his hospital room.

Waiting area:

This is an area where family and friends can wait until your child is able to have visitors. Leave a phone number or other means of contact where you can be reached if you leave the area.


  • You cannot make it to your child's surgery on time.
  • Your child is irritable and crying more than usual.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child has sudden severe chest pain.
  • Your child has trouble breathing.
  • Your child is not able to eat or drink.
  • Your child's signs and symptoms are getting worse.


  • Your child's esophagus, stomach, liver, bowel, blood vessels, or nerves may get injured during the surgery. This may cause him to lose a large amount of blood and need more surgery. He could have trouble breathing or get an infection during or after surgery. His stomach may be wrapped to his esophagus too tightly or loosely. He may have trouble swallowing, and bloating (stomach swelling) may occur. Even after surgery, your child's signs and symptoms may come back or become worse.
  • Without treatment, your child's symptoms may continue and get worse. The lining of his esophagus may be damaged and cause ulcers to form. These may heal into scars that can make his esophagus narrower. When this happens, your child may have sudden severe chest pain and trouble eating. In infants, severe GERD can cause their breathing to stop or heart rate to slow. Damage to the esophagus may lead to serious medical problems. Ask your child's healthcare provider if you have questions about your child's surgery, medicine, or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.

Further information

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