Gastrectomy

When patients face stomach cancer and other severe stomach conditions, procedures like gastrectomy help our doctors provide the comprehensive and precise treatment each patient deserves.

A gastrectomy, sometimes called a stomach resection, is the surgical removal of the stomach. Depending on the severity of a condition, gastrectomy procedures may often involve removing nearby organs, such as the esophagus, duodenum and/or lymph nodes.

Used mainly for treating stomach cancer, there are two main types of gastrectomy procedures; partial and total. A partial gastrectomy removes only a portion of the stomach, while a total gastrectomy removes the entire stomach. 

A gastrectomy is performed as an inpatient surgical procedure and administered under general anesthesia. Depending on your diagnosis and condition, your doctor will recommend either a total gastrectomy or a partial gastrectomy.

Whether or not you can undergo a total gastrectomy depends on many factors, most of which include the severity of your stomach condition or the size, location and stage of your stomach cancer. Your specific condition will also determine whether a laparoscopic or open approach to surgery will be used.

During an open gastrectomy procedure, your surgeon will make a large incision in the front of your abdomen. Using careful and precise tools, your surgeon cuts around the stomach, detaching it from the esophagus and the duodenum (small intestine). The stomach is then removed from your body.

Because the stomach is completely extracted in a total gastrectomy, the procedure also requires a form of gastric bypass surgery. After the stomach is removed, your surgeon takes a lower part of your intestine and attaches it to your esophagus. This allows your body to continue normal eating functions.

Partial gastrectomy surgeries are similar to total gastrectomy procedures. But instead of attaching your esophagus directly to your intestine, the remaining portion of the stomach is reattached to your bowel to continue digestive function. There are fewer risks to partial gastrectomy procedures. 

Aside from common potential side effects (bleeding, infection, tissue damage and abdominal pain), gastrectomy procedures can pose significant risks. These include:

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Severe maldigestion
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Acid reflux
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss