Gastrectomy is the surgical removal of all or part of the stomach. This surgery is performed as a treatment for stomach cancer and may also be indicated for a bleeding gastric ulcer, a perforation (hole) in the stomach wall, and noncancerous polyps.

The stomach connects to the esophagus (tube that carries food from the mouth) on one end and the small intestine (primary site of nutrient absorption) on the other end. When part of the stomach is removed, the remaining portion continues its digestive function. When the entire stomach hast to be removed, the esophagus is attached to the small intestine, the digestive process begins in the small intestine, and the body eventually adapts. Dietary changes may be required.

Patient is put under general anesthesia. A nasogastric tube is also put in. The abdomen is then cleansed with an antiseptic solution. The surgeon makes a large incision from just below the breastbone to the navel. If the lower end of the stomach is diseased, the surgeon places clamps on either end of the area and that portion of the stomach is removed. The upper part of the stomach is then attached to the small intestine.

If the upper end of the stomach is diseased, the end of the esophagus and the upper part of the stomach are clamped. The affected portion is removed, and the lower part of the stomach is attached to the esophagus.

In a total Gastrectomy, clamps are placed on the end of the esophagus and the end of the small intestine. The stomach is removed and the esophagus is joined to the intestine. Lymph nodes, a section of the pancreas, and the spleen are often removed in cases of cancer.

The abdomen is sutured. The nasogastric tube remains in place and is removed during the postoperative period. Surgery generally takes between 1 and 3 hours, depending on the diagnosis and the extent of the disease.

How well you recover after surgery depends on the reason for the surgery and your underlying health.

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