Can You Burp or Vomit After a GERD (or fundoplication) Surgery?
Many surgeons will tell their patients that after a fundoplication surgery for GERD or hiatal hernia repair that they will never be able to vomit or belch again. For myself, it would scare me to think that if I had food poisoning or the stomach flu, that I could no longer be able to regurgitate.
For this reason, I have always steered to making my fundoplication wraps a bit less tight. I have found that most of my patients have excellent control of their GERD symptoms with a fundoplication wrap that still allows the majority of them to belch and vomit. Now, certainly it may be harder to do either of these things. And, I do warn my patients that it is possible that they may not be able to belch or vomit, but again, when I have asked, most patients are able to do both.
As well, patients should know that all things in our body tend to loosen (or sag) over time. We have all heard our elders complain of this from time to time in our youth. And now, maybe we are those doing the complaining. Just as other body parts, the fundoplication wrap created during the GERD surgery will slowly loosen over time. Therefore even some patients that originally could not burp or vomit will be able to do so as the wrap loosens.
This also means that over the course of 8 years or more, many post-op patients will encounter some symptoms of recurrent reflux which may require antacid medication or even stronger medicines for reflux. But, the reflux is almost never as bad as it was before the surgery.
To read more similar questions, be sure to view our GERD FAQ page here.