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Gastrectomy Surgery

Gastrectomy surgery

A gastrectomy is a surgical procedure that removes a portion or all of the stomach. There are different types of gastrectomy surgery, depending on how much of the stomach and surrounding tissues are removed during surgery. The three main types are:

  • Partial gastrectomy involves removing the stomach partially. Usually, the lower half is removed.
  • Total gastrectomy involves removing the entire stomach.
  • Sleeve gastrectomy aims at removing the left side of the stomach, generally for weight loss purpose.

Why is gastrectomy performed

Gastrectomy is used to treat issues related to the stomach at a stage where medications have failed. Gastrectomy is recommended to treat:

  • Tumors, both benign and cancerous
  • Bleeding in the stomach region
  • Inflammation of the stomach
  • Perforations in the stomach walls
  • Polyps or ulcers inside the stomach
  • Chronic peptic or duodenal ulcers

Gastrectomy is also used to treat obesity. The goal is to make the stomach smaller so that the person eats less. Gastrectomy is performed as a last resort for treating obesity.

The procedure

There are mainly two ways in which the surgery is carried out:

  • Open surgery- This is the traditional method where a large incision is made at the stomach region. The stomach is accessed and operated through the incision.
  • Laparoscopic method- Also known as ‘keyhole surgery’ or laparoscopically assisted gastrectomy(LAG), this is the newer and minimally invasive version involving tiny incisions and a camera inserted into the body through the incision. Specialized tools are used in the surgery while the gastrectomy surgeon watches the surgery site on the screen. This procedure is less painful and recovery time is lesser.

During the procedure, the required section of the stomach is cut away and then sewn back together. If the entire stomach is being removed, the surgeon connects the esophagus to the duodenum. If only a section of the stomach is being removed, the edges are sewn back together to create a smaller stomach.

Risks involved

Some of the risks involved while undergoing a gastrectomy procedure are:

  • Bleeding in the digestive tract.
  • Infection in the abdominal incision or the digestive tract
  • Leakage of stomach acid into the esophagus which can cause scarring or constriction.
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dumping syndrome which is a form of defective digestion process leading to cramping, diarrhea, bloating and cold sweats.
  • Decreased absorption of iron and other nutrients from the food taken causing vitamin deficiencies.
  • Weight loss

Recovery

During the hospital stay, you will have a nasogastric tube to remove the fluids produced by your stomach. Food will be fed through a veinal tube until normal food intake through the mouth can be resumed. Your gastrectomy surgeon will advise you on the lifestyle changes to be made after the surgery which may include:

  • Eating smaller meals.
  • Avoiding food high in fiber
  • Eating food items rich in calcium, iron and vitamins
  • Including vitamin supplements in the daily diet

Recovery from a gastrectomy procedure may be slow. Your stomach and small intestine will stretch gradually allowing you to have larger meals. Your doctor will recommend regular blood tests to ensure the body is getting enough nutrients.

 

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