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Rady Children's Specialists

Failure to Thrive and Fundoplication

Children who fail to grow adequately may not be able to take in enough calories for growth and may have reflux. The reflux can cause pain when they eat resulting in the negative re-enforcement of pain when eating.

After discussing with your child’s primary care physician, you may be referred to us for a gastrostomy tube and possibly a fundoplication.

A gastrostomy device is a type of tube that is placed directly through the abdominal wall into the stomach. These devices are actually easy to use and care for and do not inhibit your child’s usual activities, including bathing and swimming. The device can make feeding your child and help him or her gain weight easy, and you will find that your child is more content when they are receiving adequate calories.

If there is reflux or a concern for aspiration, a fundoplication may be recommended in conjunction with the gastrostomy device. The fundoplication operation may be performed either through an incision or laparoscopically and essentially creates a one-way valve using the upper part of the stomach. The child may still eat by mouth (if there is no concern for inability to swallow correctly), but stomach contents do not reflux up the esophagus to cause pain and potential problems with aspiration and pneumonia.