Why do I need to have a barium swallow test before I get a nissen fundoplication?

Position of Stomach. Gerd is often associated with a hiatal hernia, thru which the stomach "yo-yo's" up into the chest. Some patients with advanced disease have their entire stomach stuck within the chest with a shortened esophagus. We need to know this pre-op in order to plan a different surgical approach.
Function & anatomy. I use this test to confirm the anatomy of the stomach and esophagus, as well as to assess the ability of the esophagus to push solids and liquids into the stomach (solids are usually barium coated marshmallows).
Cancer or motion. To ruleout esophageal cancer or motility disorders of the esophagus, such as achalasia ... May also need manometry studies ...
Check stomach. Some people with advanced gerd have such significant scarring that the stomach cannot return to the abdominal cavity. This is important to know before surgery so that your surgeon can consider doing the surgery through the chest or performing a procedure to lengthen the esophagus at the time of the fundoplication.

Related Questions

Barium swallow prior to fundoplication (anti-reflux) surgery, why is this?

More info. This test can give anatomical information the surgeon about the size and shape of a hiatal hernia if there is one. When done "properly", it can also give physiologic information about how well the esophagus can push solids and liquids into the stomach. This info can help determine if your are a good candidate for an anti-reflux procedure, be it endoscopic or laparoscopic. Hope this helps! Read more...