Nissen fundoplication is a procedure that alleviates chronic heartburn in people whose condition cannot be controlled by either lifestyle changes or medication. Their symptoms are caused by severe gastroesophageal reflux due to a weak valve muscle between the stomach and the esophagus. Patients experience a burning sensation from the chest to the throat whenever stomach acids are forced back up into the esophagus. If left untreated, it can progress to esophageal cancer and can damage the lungs.
Nissen fundoplication offers a good chance of overcoming a condition that affects many areas of life — from what and when you eat, to how well you sleep, and what you wear. In fact, a recent study found that 90 percent of patients undergoing the procedure are symptom-free after 10 years. However, because laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication requires extensive and highly specialized training, only a few surgeons in the United States perform the procedure.
At Advanced Surgical Associates, our surgeons are trained in the art of laparoscopic surgery for the treatment of severe heartburn. We will work closely with the gastroenterologist in the diagnosis and treatment of heartburn.
Advantages of the Laparoscopic Nissen Procedure
Today, Nissen fundoplication can be performed laparoscopically. Because the new approach requires only five small incisions, patients experience less pain and recover faster. The laparoscope, which is a telescopic video camera, gives a better view of internal organs than can usually be achieved in a traditional open procedure. Magnified images viewed on the video monitor reveal internal structures, including blood vessels, in exquisite detail. Patients lose less blood during laparoscopic surgery than during traditional surgery, and they experience fewer infections and other complications as a result of surgery. About 40 percent of all patients needing Nissen fundoplication have hiatal hernias, a condition that contributes to the burning sensation that patients may experience in their chest, throat, and jaw. Although this condition alone cannot cause gastroesophageal reflux, this condition is repaired as well. In a week or two, patients can return to normal activities and work.