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Anti-reflux surgery (fundoplication)

Anti-reflux surgery is a procedure for treating gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. GERD results when acid refluxes from the stomach into the esophagus. Because the esophagus does not have a mucus lining like the stomach, it can become irritated by the acid.

GERD is normally prevented by a functional muscular valve at the junction of the esophagus and stomach, called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).

  • Most of the time, this sphincter is contracted to close off the esophagus from the stomach, thus acting as a barrier. In patients with GERD, the sphincter is either weak, relaxes inappropriately, or is forced open by a hiatal hernia.
  • GERD causes inflammation, heartburn and other serious complications, such as scarring and narrowing of the esophagus.
  • During an anti-reflux surgical procedure, the part of the stomach closest to the esophagus is sewn around the lower end of the esophagus.
  • This procedure increases the pressure at the lower end of the esophagus to strengthen the valve function and reduce acid reflux.

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