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Nissen Fundoplication for GERD: What to Expect


Prior to Surgery

  • Talk to your doctor about your child’s medications and vitamins. Some may need to be discontinued prior to surgery.
  • Discuss any possible bleeding disorders or other medical conditions that could impact surgery or anesthesia.
  • Blood samples are taken in case your child needs a blood transfusion.

On the Day of the Surgery

  • Do not allow your child to eat or drink after midnight on the evening prior to surgery.
  • You will receive a call from the hospital about arrival time.

After Surgery

  • Most children will be hospitalized for a few days.
  • Your child will return to a normal diet slowly and will begin with soft foods until healed.
  • There will be soreness around the surgical site during the first 24 to 48 hours following surgery.
  • Your child may have some nausea and vomiting after surgery since the procedure was done in the abdominal region. Your child will be encouraged to sip liquids to reduce these sensations.
  • Do not let the child bathe until the doctor says that it is okay. Sponge baths are recommended.
  • Walking is encouraged, based on his/her energy level.

Recovery: What to Expect in the Next Few Weeks

Most children will feel better within a week and will fully recover in two to three weeks.

Question & Answer

Below, find answers to commonly asked questions. Click each item to expand the Q&A for each section.

The Procedure

Q: What does the procedure involve?

After your child receives general anesthesia, instruments are inserted that allow the surgeon to “wrap” the upper part of the stomach around the esophagus, creating a “valve” mechanism to decrease regurgitation. In addition, sutures are placed to narrow the opening between the chest and the abdomen, where the esophagus enters, to correct or prevent a hiatus hernia.


Q: How many incisions are made?

Five tiny incisions are made in the abdomen.

Hospital Stay

Q: How long will my child stay in the hospital?

In most cases, a child is hospitalized for a few days.

Recovery Time

Q: What is the recovery time?

Most children recover in two to three weeks.