If a combination of lifestyle changes and drug therapy does not remedy reflux symptoms, a Nissen Fundoplication can be a very effective surgical procedure to correct reflux. This procedure involves wrapping the upper portion of the stomach around the base of the oesophagus to reinforce the strength of the lower oesophageal sphincter. Until recently, the procedure required a large abdominal incision. A hospital stay of 1-2 days was usually required, and the time to full recovery and return to work was measured in weeks.
A laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication is a minimally invasive approach that involves specialised video equipment and instruments that allow a surgeon to perform the procedure through four tiny incisions, most of which are less than a half-centimetre in size. One advantage of this method is a brief hospitalisation. Most of the time it will require an overnight stay. Other advantages include less pain (less of a need for pain medication), fewer and smaller scars, and a shorter recovery time.
Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication is a safe and effective treatment of GORD. However, in rare cases the laparoscopic approach is not possible because it becomes difficult to visualise or handle organs effectively. In such instances, the traditional incision may need to be made to safely complete the operation.