Fundoplication, commonly known as reflux surgery, is a surgical procedure used to correct problems of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It may also be used on patients with esophagitis or to repair a hiatal hernia. This procedure prevents acid from traveling back into the esophagus by strengthening the valve between the esophagus and stomach.
During fundoplication, the fundus (the upper part of the stomach) is wrapped around a band of muscles at the base of the esophagus and sewn into place. This helps strengthen the LES muscles and increases pressure on them, preventing reflux from occurring. The LES muscles are supposed to open when food is present in the esophagus, in order to let it into the stomach, but is supposed to close once the food has entered, serving as a one-way valve. In many people, the valve is not strong enough to stay closed and acid may flow back into the esophagus, causing irritation and inflammation of the lining.