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What is fundoplication?
Fundoplication is the standard surgical method for treating gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD causes inflammation, pain (heartburn), and other serious complications (such as scarring and stricture) of the esophagus. GERD results when acid refluxes (regurgitates, or backwashes) from the stomach back up into the esophagus. Under normal conditions, there is a barrier to reflux of acid. One part of this barrier is the lower-most muscle of the esophagus (called the lower esophageal sphincter). Most of the time, this muscle is contracted (constricted, or tight), which closes off the esophagus from the stomach. In patients with GERD, the sphincter does not function normally. The muscle is either weak or relaxes inappropriately. Fundoplication is a surgical technique that strengthens the barrier to acid reflux when the sphincter does not function normally.