Gastrectomy is surgery to remove part or all of the stomach.
The surgery is done while you are under general anesthesia (asleep and pain-free). The surgeon makes a cut in the abdomen and removes all or part of the stomach, depending on the reason for the procedure.
Depending on what part of the stomach was removed, the intestine may need to be re-connected to the remaining stomach (partial gastrectomy) or to the esophagus (total gastrectomy).
Today, some surgeons perform gastrectomy using a camera. The surgery is done with a few small surgical cuts. The advantages of this surgery, which is called laparoscopy, are a faster recovery, less pain, and only a few small cuts.
Gastrectomy is used to treat:
If you are a smoker, you should stop smoking several weeks before surgery and not start smoking again after surgery. Smoking slows recovery and increases the risk of problems. Tell your health care provider if you need help quitting.
Tell your doctor or nurse:
During the week before your surgery:
On the day of your surgery:
How well you do after surgery depends on the reason for the surgery and your condition.
After surgery, there may be a tube in your nose which will help keep your stomach empty. It is removed as soon as your bowels are working well.
Most people have pain from the surgery. You can control this with pain medicines.
You may stay in hospital for 6 to10 days.
Ask your doctor if you have any specific restrictions regarding activities. It may take several weeks for you to recover fully. While you are taking narcotic pain medicines, you should not drive.
Mahvi DM, Krantz SB. Stomach. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 49.
Last reviewed on: 10/27/2014
Reviewed by: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.