Most children do not need prescription pain medication following discharge after the fundoplication procedure — Tylenol or Motrin usually suffice. Follow the dosage directions on the label. If your child is still uncomfortable, call our office and we may prescribe something stronger.
Eating by Mouth
If your child is to resume his or her usual diet, it is best to start slowly. Begin with liquids, advance to soft foods and then to a regular diet. It may take several weeks for the postoperative swelling to subside and for solid foods to pass easily into the stomach. Foods that cannot pass into the stomach will be vomited up. It is not unusual for this to occur from time to time in the first few weeks after surgery. For questions about your child's dietary tolerance, call our office.
Gastrostomy Tube and Supplies
If your child leaves the hospital with a gastrostomy tube, a replacement tube of the same size will be sent home with you at discharge. If you need to feed your child by gastrostomy tube, supplies will be ordered by the surgical nurse practitioner from a home care company. The home care company will ship supplies directly to your home. A nurse may come to your home to help you learn how to give feedings and take care of the gastrostomy tube. Long-term management of feedings and supplies will generally be the responsibility of your child's gastroenterologist.
Dressings and Skin Care
You may remove the gauze and clear plastic dressings covering your child's incisions two days after surgery. Pieces of tape called Steri-strips will be over the incisions. It is normal for there to be a small amount of blood on the Steri-strips. You may remove these strips one week after the operation. Your child can bathe with the Steri-strips in place.
You do not need to keep the incisions away from water. Your child may bathe or shower as soon as he or she feels better — this can be as soon as two days after surgery.
The skin surrounding the incision may be red and bruised, and the incision may be slightly swollen. This can last several weeks. There will be no visible stitches to remove because they are under the skin. The stitches will dissolve after several weeks.
After the incisions are healed, you will feel a firm ridge just underneath. This is called a healing ridge and it is normal. The healing ridge usually lasts for several months, then softens and disappears.
There are no specific activity restrictions following surgery. Your child can return to school as soon as he or she feels well enough. If you need a letter sent to your child's school regarding the operation and recovery, please contact our office.
If all is going well, a visit to our office is not required. Our pediatric nurse practitioner will call you to check on your child's recovery. A visit with your child's pediatrician and gastroenterologist one to two weeks after the discharge is recommended. Fundoplication may have long term complications including gas bloat, difficulty swallowing and unwrapping or slipping. If you think your child is experiencing problems because of the fundoplication, call our office.
Signs to Watch For
Call Pediatric Surgery at (415) 476-2538 if:
- You have any concerns about your child's recovery
- Your child has a temperature of 101° F or higher
- The incision is red
- There is severe pain and tenderness at the incision