Background: The short-term clinical outcomes from a multicenter prospective randomized trial of laparoscopic Nissen versus anterior 901 partial fundoplication have been reported previously. These demonstrated a high level of satisfaction with the overall outcome following anterior 90 degrees fundoplication. However, the results of postoperative objective tests and specific clinical symptoms are not always consistent with an individual patient's functional status and general well being following surgery, and quality of life (QOL) is also an important outcome to consider following surgery for reflux. Hence, QOL information was collected in this trial to investigate the hypothesis: improvements in QOL following laparoscopic antireflux surgery are greater after anterior 900 partial fundoplication than after Nissen fundoplication.Methods: Patients undergoing a laparoscopic fundoplication for gastro-esophageal reflux at one of nine university teaching hospitals in six major cities in Australia and New Zealand were randomized to undergo either laparoscopic Nissen or anterior 900 partial fundoplication. Quality of life before and after surgery was assessed using validated questionnaires - the Short Form 36 general health questionnaire (SF36) and an Illness Behavior Questionnaire (IBO). Patients were asked to complete these questionnaires preoperatively and at 3, 6, 12 and 24 months postoperatively.Results: One hundred and twelve patients were randomized to undergo a Nissen fundoplication (52) or a 90 degrees anterior fundoplication (60). Patients who underwent anterior fundoplication reported significant improvements in eight of the nine SF36 scales compared to four of the nine following a Nissen fundoplication. The majority of these improvements occurred early in the postoperative period. With respect to the illness behavior data, there were no significant differences between the two procedures. Both groups had a significant improvement in disease conviction scores at all time points compared to their preoperative scores.Conclusions: Patients undergoing laparoscopic anterior 90 degrees partial fundoplication reported more QOL improvements in the early postoperative period than patients undergoing a Nissen fundoplication. However, the QOL outcome for both procedures was similar at later follow-up.