Recovery and diet after surgery

Nissen fundoplication for severe acid reflux

You can expect to go home 1 to 3 days after surgery. If you have had open surgery, this might be longer.

You will have to eat less, and more slowly, than you did before surgery. You will need to have a diet of blended, then soft, food.

Diet after surgery

You should only drink water for the rest of the day after surgery. Do not have fizzy drinks, as burping might be difficult or impossible for some after surgery.

The day after surgery you can start a liquid diet. You will need to cut up or blend all of your food for up to 4 to 6 weeks.

You should only eat foods which can be swallowed as a paste (without any lumps) during this time. Start on soft, small, frequent meals.

If you do not chew foods well or try to swallow large mouthfuls there is a risk that food will get stuck, which can be very uncomfortable.

Side effects of a Nissen fundoplication

The most common side effect is difficulty swallowing. This is common immediately after the surgery due to swelling. It will gradually improve.

Some people find it hard to poo (constipation) and need to take laxatives if they cannot poo. Other common side effects are less burping, and more bloating and farting (flatulence). Most of these symptoms will settle with time.

Feeling sick (nausea)

If you are feeling sick after surgery, you will be given anti-sickness medicine, and will not be able to eat until the feeling passes. This is to avoid you being sick (vomiting) or retching, which can cause movement of the surgical site (wrap migration ).

It is important to take any anti-sickness medicine given to you, even after you go home.

Pain after surgery

You might have some neck and shoulder pain immediately after your surgery. This because of the gas used to inflate your stomach.

You might also feel uncomfortable around the wound sites and around the muscles in your tummy. You might have mild pain for up to a week after your surgery.

You will be given pain medicine during your hospital stay. Please let a nurse know if you are uncomfortable.

You will be given a prescription for painkillers for when you leave hospital. The nurses will give you instructions about taking painkillers and what to do when you get home.

Contact your GP if you:

  • have a high temperature (fever)
  • have an unusually high amount of pain
  • feel sick or are being sick , meaning you cannot eat properly

Call 999 or go to your nearest emergency department (A&E) if:

  • you have severe chest or tummy pain
  • you are being sick and cannot keep any fluids down
  • you are being sick and passing blood
  • you have difficulty swallowing, and food is getting stuck

Returning to your activities

  • You can do non-strenuous activity within a couple of days of surgery.
  • Strenuous activity should be avoided for 6 weeks.
  • You can drive again when you can confidently perform an emergency stop, but you should check with your insurance company about when you are covered to drive again.
  • You might need 2 to 3 weeks or more off work, depending on the nature of your job.

Follow-up appointment

You will get an appointment to see the surgeon and clinical nurse specialist in the outpatient department about 6 weeks after your surgery .

Resource number: 4855/VER2
Last reviewed: June 2022
Next review due: June 2025

Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns about Nissen fundoplication, please contact the benign upper GI clinical nurse specialist.

Phone: 020 7188 2673 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

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