Nissen Fundoplication

Fundoplication is a surgical procedure to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and hiatus hernia.  In GERD it is usually performed when medical therapy has failed, but with paraesophageal hiatus hernia, it is the first-line procedure.  The Nissen fundoplication is total (360°), but partial fundoplications known as Belsey fundoplication (270° anterior transthoracic), Dor fundoplication (anterior 180-200°) or Toupet fundoplication (posterior 270°) are also alternative procedures with somewhat different indications.

Dr. Rudolph Nissen (1896–1981) first performed the procedure in 1955 and published the results of two cases in a 1956 Swiss Medical Weekly. In 1961 he published a more detailed overview of the procedure. Nissen originally called the surgery “gastroplication.” The procedure has borne his name since it gained popularity in the 1970s.

In a fundoplication, the gastric fundus (upper part) of the stomach is wrapped, or plicated, around the lower end of the esophagus and stitched in place, reinforcing the closing function of the lower esophageal sphincter. The esophageal hiatus is also narrowed down by sutures to prevent or treat concurrent hiatal hernia, in which the fundus slides up through the enlarged esophageal hiatus of the diaphragm.

In a Nissen fundoplication, also called a complete fundoplication, the fundus is wrapped all the way 360 degrees around the esophagus. In contrast, surgery for achalasia is generally accompanied by either a Dor or Toupet partial fundoplication, which is less likely than a Nissen wrap to aggravate the dysphagia that characterizes achalasia. In a Dor (anterior) fundoplication, the fundus is laid over the top of the esophagus; while in a Toupet (posterior) fundoplication, the fundus is wrapped around the back of the esophagus.

The procedure is now routinely performed laparoscopically and robotically using the da Vinci Surgical System. When used to alleviate gastroesophageal reflux symptoms in patients with delayed gastric emptying, it is frequently combined with modification of the pylorus via pyloromyotomy or pyloroplasty.

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