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Causes of Failed Reflux Surgery

Patients should be selected very carefully and should have a complete work-up prior to an antireflux procedure.

The majority of failed antireflux procedures are the result of inadequate patient selection, or incomplete diagnostic work-up prior to surgery and failure in surgical techniques.

The fundoplication (wrapping of the stomach around the esophagus) can be:

  • too tight
  • too lose
  • twisted
  • herniated into the chest
  • slipped (the stomach is wrapped around itself instead of around the esophagus)

What is a Successful Antireflux Procedure?

Predictors of a successful antireflux procedure include:

  • positive esophageal pH study (showing that there is acid inside the esophagus)
  • the typical symptoms of reflux, such as heartburn and/or regurgitation
  • response to medical therapy

What is a Complete Diagnostic Work-Up?

It is important to review the patient’s symptoms in detail, and to obtain a complete work-up in all patients who are candidate for antireflux surgery, including:


After anti-reflux surgery, if a patient experiences recurrent symptoms (the same symptoms that were present prior to surgery), or new onset reflux-related symptoms, they should see their doctor.