The stomach is a sac-like organ that receives partially processed food from the esophagus. It secretes gastric juices that mix with the food and begin to digest it. Then, the mixture empties into the duodenum, or the beginning of the small intestine.
Stomach surgery may be necessary to treat a variety of conditions, including: acid disease, stomach cancer, gastroparesis, stomach dumping, dysphagia and gastric bypass. The surgery may modify, repair or remove the stomach, depending on the condition being treated. Non-surgical methods of treatment are generally considered prior to undergoing surgery.
Surgeries for acid disease: Many people suffer from overproduction of stomach acid. Most people with this condition are treated with lifestyle changes and medication. However, when this condition results in stomach ulcers that aren’t responding to non-invasive treatment, resulting in bleeding, perforation of the gastrointestinal tract or obstructions, surgery may be recommended.
Partial gastrectomy: This procedure involves the removal of a part of the stomach and is done when areas of it are severely compromised by acid disease. It may also be performed to treat stomach cancer and benign tumors. If the lower portion of the stomach is removed during surgery, the upper portion will be connected directly to the small intestine. Lymph nodes may also be removed. Patients who undergo a partial gastrectomy can expect to spend three to five days in the hospital after the surgery. Patients may lose weight for one to six weeks and resume normal or near normal eating patterns three to six months after the surgery. Eating smaller or more frequent meals may be needed to help prevent uncomfortable symptoms and dietary changes may also help.
Total gastrectomy: This procedure involves removing the entire stomach, a small portion of the esophagus and small intestines. In a total gastrectomy, the end of the esophagus is attached to the small intestine, once again allowing food to move through the intestinal tract. However, as a result, patients can only eat small, frequent meals, even after their recovery. Some patients require a feeding tube to prevent malnutrition after surgery. Immediately following a total gastrectomy, patients will not be able to eat or drink anything for a few days so that the digestive tract has time to heal. Some patients experience side effects after recovery, which may include: nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain and heartburn, often after eating, due to the fact that without a stomach, food moves too quickly into the intestines. Dietary changes are needed after this surgery, as you will need to eat small, more frequent meals and most likely take vitamins to supplement your needs.
PEG tube / feeding tube: A percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube insertion is the surgical placement of a feeding tube through the stomach wall directly into the stomach. The PEG tube can stay in your stomach for months or years to take in specialized liquid nutrition, fluids and medicines that cannot be taken in by mouth. A PEG tube may be placed if you have a long term condition that will not allow you to swallow or for temporary conditions that you may recover from. A PEG tube lasts about a year and replacement of the old tube is usually a simple procedure. Caring for the PEG tube is done by cleaning the site once a day with soap and water and keeping the site dry between cleanings.
Surgery for stomach blockage: This condition occurs when food no longer empties properly from the stomach into the intestines. A procedure done to address this is a jejunostomy. In this surgery, a feeding tube is placed through the abdomen into the small intestine, and nutrients are placed directly into the small intestine, bypassing the stomach.
Conditions that may require stomach surgery:
- Stomach Cancer
- Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST Tumor)
- Carcinoid Tumor
- Gastric Outlet Obstruction
- Benign Stomach Polyp
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