Complications and reoperation after Nissen fundoplication in childhood

Am J Surg. 1987 Feb;153(2):177-83. doi: 10.1016/0002-9610(87)90810-5.


Over a 10 year period, 429 Nissen fundoplications were performed on children with gastroesophageal reflux. Postoperative complications occurred in 69 children (16 percent), including wrap herniation or breakdown in 29; postoperative bowel obstruction in 18; stricture in 10; intraabdominal abscess and enterocutaneous fistula in 3 patients each; and wound infection, wound dehiscence, and inadvertent splenectomy in 2 patients each. The postoperative mortality rate was 0.9 percent (4 of 429 patients) and was related to sepsis in 1 patient, a metabolic disorder in 1 patient, and underlying pulmonary disease in 2 patients. All four patients were neurologically impaired. Fundoplication successfully controlled symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux in 395 children (92 percent) over a follow-up period ranging from 6 months to 10 years. Thirty-eight patients (8.8 percent) required a second antireflux operation because of recurrent symptoms. Twenty-nine patients had severe neurologic impairment (76 percent), 5 had associated congenital malformations (13 percent), and 3 had significant pulmonary problems (8 percent). Only one child requiring reoperation was considered otherwise normal. Indications for reoperation included wrap breakdown or herniation (28 patients), stricture (6 patients), and inadequate wrap (4 patients). Twenty-four of 28 children with wrap herniation or breakdown had neurologic impairment. A second fundoplication was successful in 35 of 38 patients (92 percent). A second procedure failed in three children, who required subsequent resection and colon interposition.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Esophagus / surgery*
  • Female
  • Gastric Fundus / surgery*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / surgery*
  • Hernia / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intestinal Obstruction / etiology
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery*
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Wound Infection / etiology