It has been suggested that dysphagia is less common after partial versus complete fundoplication. The mechanisms contributing to postoperative dysphagia remain unclear. The objective of the present prospective study was to investigate esophageal motility and the prevalence of dysphagia in patients who have undergone laparoscopic partial fundoplication. Symptoms, lower esophageal sphincter (LES) characteristics and esophageal body motility were evaluated prospectively in 62 patients before and after laparoscopic partial fundoplication: 33 women and 29 men with a mean age of 44 +/- 1.5 years (range, 21-71). The patients filled in symptom questionnaires and underwent stationary and ambulatory manometry and 24-h pH-metry before and after operation. A small but significant increase in LES pressure from 14.8 +/- 0.9 to 17.8 +/- 0.8 mmHg was seen after laparoscopic partial fundoplication. Further, LES characteristics and esophageal body motility were not different post- versus preoperation. Three months after surgery, dysphagia was present in eight patients. No differences in LES characteristics or body motility were present between patients with and without dysphagia. Six months after the operation dysphagia was present in only three patients (3.2% mild and 1.6% severe dysphagia). Adequate reflux control was obtained in 85% of the patients. Laparoscopic partial fundoplication offers adequate reflux control without affecting esophageal body motility and with a very low incidence of postoperative dysphagia.