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Gastrectomy Surgery Questions

What is Gastrectomy?

Gastrectomy is a medical term describing the full surgical removal of the stomach. This type of surgery is usually used when stomach cancer or stomach wall perforations are present. Partial gastrectomy may occur when there are severe duodenal ulcers present. To learn more about gastrectomy, take a look at the questions below that have been answered by Experts.

How would removal of 95% of the stomach (subtotal Gastrectomy) to treat severe ulcers or cancer affect the digestion and absorption of food?

When such a large portion of the stomach is removed the person may be restricted as to how much food and liquid may be taken at one setting. The stomach has enzymes which are secreted to help with digestion of food. Food is usually absorbed in the small intestine. Of course the amount of food which is absorbed is usually determined by how much food the person is able to ingest.

A Gastrectomy in many ways is similar to a gastric bypass which is used to treat over weight issues. People who undergo the gastrectomy are often limited to the amount of food and liquid they can have a t one setting. When a person eats less, there are generally less calories ingested which means weight loss. Due to the lack of food ingested, people who have a gastrectomy generally have to supplement their diet with vitamins. Vitamin B12 shots may be required following a gastrectomy. Vitamin B12 is secreted through the stomach. If the majority of the stomach is removed, the vitamin B12 must be replaced to avoid pernicious anemia.

Would a total Gastrectomy help with severe gastroparsis?

Before having a gastrectomy, many people find it beneficial to look into gastric electrical stimulation. This is rather new and has shown promise in treating gastroparsis. While this technique is still new, there is one device in the United States and may be an option for patients who have been unsuccessful with other techniques. If the person isn't vomiting on a daily basis, the person may not be a candidate for this type of therapy.

As for total or near total gastrectomy is concerned, many surgeons try to avoid such a permanent surgery. This is because there may be therapies presented in the future that could help avoid surgery. Furthermore when a person has a total gastrectomy, they may be forever required to take vitamin supplements.

How is life after a total Gastrectomy?

Aside from a few dietary changes, most people do very well following a gastrectomy. Because the stomach is removed, one may be required to eat smaller portions. In some cases food may be blended to better ensure proper absorption in the small intestine. Many people who have have a gastrectomy tend to avoid high fiber foods. High fat foods may be hard to digest and may need to be eaten in small amounts or removed from the diet completely.

Is there any medication to help with stomach pain caused by a Gastrectomy?

Stomach pain maybe a sign that the bands are constricting and too tight. Eating smaller portions and chewing the food well before swallowing may help. Before self medicating, it may be ideal to speak with the surgeon who performed the surgery. The person's doctor may suggest antacids prior to eating. Tums may be a safe choice due to the short acting benefits.

What causes a person to not be able to eat after a Gastrectomy?

In most cases following a gastrectomy, a person may only be able to take in tiny amounts of food or liquid. If the person is vomiting and unable to keep food or liquid down, medical intervention may be required. Many times pureed fruit and soft foods may be more acceptable to the stomach. If even pureed food cannot be kept down, an upper GI may be required to search for any possible issues.

When a person is facing a gastrectomy, many medical and personal questions may arise. Many people want to know about the benefits verses the risks when undergoing such a surgery. If a person has questions or concerns regarding a gastrectomy, the person should ask an expert for medical clarity and suggestions for proper treatment.

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