Cardiothoracic Surgery

Diet Following Stomach Fundoplication

Due to swelling of the wrap used to prevent reflux in people who have had stomach fundoplication, the following short-term effects may occur:

  • Difficulty swallowing some foods (dysphagia), due to swelling of the wrap
  • Abdominal bloating and pain after eating foods that distend the stomach ("gas bloat syndrome")

These symptoms last from two to six weeks. The following dietary modifications help minimize these symptoms by alerting you to foods that tend to be difficult to swallow or distend the stomach:

  1. Stage I: Clear Liquid Diet
    • When to start: Morning one day after surgery. Later, drop back to Stage I if you have problems with Stage II.
    • Small meals of clear liquids three to four times daily
    • Avoid extreme temperatures
    • Drink slowly
    • Allow cold foods to melt in mouth before swallowing
    • NO carbonated drinks for three to four weeks
  2. Stage II: Soft Diet
    • When to start: Morning two after surgery. Continue at this stage for two weeks after surgery or as tolerated
    • Eat soft foods (foods you could eat if you didn't have teeth)
    • Eat or drink slowly over a one-hour period until you feel full
    • Chew your food well
    • Drink fluids with food to keep food moist
    • Limit the following "gas-forming" or "irritating" foods: tomatoes, peppermint, black pepper, caffeine, alcohol, onions, green peppers, chewing gum, menthol, fatty foods, beans, spicy foods, nuts, citrus fruits, raw fruits, raw vegetables, fiber supplements
    • Avoid breads, crackers, biscuits, pancakes, waffles, and French toast
    • Avoid dry meats (like cold cuts)
    • No carbonated drinks for three to four weeks
    • Avoid bagels and steaks
    • Avoid bacon if you had a myotomy done for achalasia
  3. Stage III: Transition to Regular Diet
    • When to start: About two weeks after your surgery
    • Soft diet as in Stage II
    • Begin introducing more challenging foods one at a time
    • If they cause symptoms, avoid them and try re-introducing them at a later date
    • Drop back to Stage II as needed for bloating or difficulty swallowing
    • For bloating, try taking Gas-X (available over the counter) with meals
    • No carbonated drinks for three to four weeks
  4. Stage IV: Regular Diet
    • When to start: four to six weeks after surgery
    • A regular healthy diet

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