Questions?

Call (608) 263-6420

Nissen Fundoplication for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Preparing Your Child for Surgery

Nissen Fundoplication for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Monday-Friday
8am-4:30pm
 
(608) 263-6420
 
After Hours, Holidays and Weekends
 
(608) 262-2122
(800) 323-8942
 
Tell the paging operator your surgeon's name and ask to speak to the doctor on call.
 
The following information will help you prepare you and your child for nissen fundoplication for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) at American Family Children's Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin.
 
You may have already received the information below during your child's pre-operative appointments. If you were already given the following printed information, the links on the left side of this page include more information to help you prepare.
 
If you have any questions, please contact us using the information in the right column of this page.
 
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
 
What is gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)?
 
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the spilling of acidic stomach contents into the esophagus (the swallowing tube). The exact cause is not known. It seems to be due to poor function of the valve-like connection between the esophagus and the stomach that should prevent this. Infants often outgrow reflux, but in some cases they do not, and medical or surgical treatment is needed.
 
Who gets GERD?
 
GERD is common in infants. About half of babies have reflux, but most will outgrow it. The reflux becomes a problem, or a disease, when there are problems with pneumonia or vomiting. If not treated, the breathing or vomiting problems caused by the reflux can harm your child.
 
How is GERD diagnosed?
 
If your doctor thinks your child has GERD, your doctor will order an x-ray of the esophagus called an upper gastrointestinal (upper GI) series. The doctor will be looking for narrowing (stricture) of the esophagus. A stricture is a tight area of scarring caused by constant irritation by acid from the stomach.
 
Another test that can be done is called a pH Probe study. This consists of placing a small wire with a sensor that can measure acid level in the esophagus. The tube will be in place for about 18 hours. It may be uncomfortable for your child, but it will not hurt. After one or both of these studies is done, your doctor will decide the best treatment for your child.
 
How is the decision made that surgery is needed?
 
The decision to do surgery is made if medication does not help the symptoms of reflux in your child. If your child has problems from the GERD - such as pneumonia, esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus) or vomiting - and these problems are not improved with medication, surgery is needed.
 
Nissen Fundoplication Surgery
 
Tips for the Day of Surgery - What to Bring
 
Bring your child’s favorite comfort things:
  • Blankets
  • Stuffed animal
  • Small toys etc. 
When will my child be able to go home?
 
Typical stay in the hospital is 1-2 days, but this can be longer depending on your child's health history. They should be tolerating goal feedings before going home and their pain should be controlled with oral/G tube medications.
 
What care is needed at home after surgery?
 
  • Your child can take a shower 24 hours after surgery and can bathe, swim (in pool or a lake) one week after surgery. If your child had a G tube placed at the time of the Nissen surgery, your child should wait 2 weeks to bathe or swim. Your child's doctor will inform you if there are any restrictions to showering/bathing/swimming.
  • Your child can participate in activities when he or she is comfortable doing so. If something causes pain, your child should not do this activity and wait a few days before trying again. Your child's doctor will inform you if there are any other restrictions you should follow.
  • Your child can eat any foods that are appropriate for age.
  • Most children will need some pain medicine for a few days after coming home. Often acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Motrin®) is enough to control the pain and soreness.
 
When should I call the surgery team?
 
You should call the surgeon if your child has a temperature over 101 F, vomiting, diarrhea, increased or different abdominal pain or is not eating. You should also call if your child has an incision that looks redder, swollen, or begins to drain fluid.
 
When do I have a follow up appointment?
 
You will see either your child's doctor or one of our nurse practitioners 2-4 weeks after surgery, unless we tell you otherwise.
 
Phone Numbers
 
Pediatric Specialty Clinic
Monday-Friday, 8am-4:30pm
( 608) 263-6420
 
After hours, holidays and weekends:
(608) 262-2122
(800) 323-8942
 
Tell the paging operator your surgeon's name and ask to speak to the doctor on call.