In some cases, your surgeon may decide after beginning a minimally invasive procedure that you require an open surgery to safely and most effectively complete your surgery. Your surgeon will determine which type and method of surgery is best for you and how long you need to stay in the hospital based on certain factors. These include your diagnosis, age, medical history, general health, and possibly your personal preference. Learn about the different gastrectomy procedures and ask why your surgeon will use a particular type of surgery for you.
Types of anesthesia that may be used
Your doctor will perform a gastrectomy using general anesthesia. General anesthesiais a combination of intravenous (IV) medications and gases that put you in a special type of sleep. During general anesthesia, you are unaware of the procedure and will not feel any pain.
What to expect the day of your gastrectomy
The day of your surgery, you can expect to:
- Talk with a pre-operative nurse. The nurse will perform an exam and ensure that all needed tests are in order. The nurse can also answer questions and will make sure that you sign the surgical consent.
- Remove all clothing and jewelry and dress in a hospital gown. It is a good idea to leave all jewelry and valuables at home or with a family member if possible. The surgical team will respect your privacy and give you blankets for modesty and warmth in the surgical suite.
- Talk with the anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist about your medical history and the type of anesthesia you will receive.
- A surgical team member will start an IV.
- The anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist will start your anesthesia.
- Your anesthesiologist will place a tube in your lungs to protect and control your breathing. You will not feel or remember this or the surgical procedure as they happen.
- Once you are asleep, a surgical team member will insert a tube that through your nose and pass it through your throat into your stomach. A catheter will be inserted into your bladder to collect urine.
- The surgical team will monitor your vital signs and other critical body functions. This occurs throughout the procedure and your recovery until you are alert, breathing effectively, and your vital signs are stable.
What are the risks and potential complications of gastrectomy?
Any surgery involves risks and potential complications. Complications may become serious and life threatening in some cases. Complications can develop during the procedure or throughout your recovery.
General risks of surgery
The general risks of surgical procedures include:
- Adverse reaction or problems related to anesthesia, such as an allergic reaction and problems with breathing
- Bleeding, which can lead to shock
- Blood clots, in particular a deep vein thrombosis that develops in the leg or pelvis. A blood clot can travel to your lungs, heart or brain and cause a pulmonary embolism, heart attack, or stroke.
- Heart attack
- Infection and septicemia, which is the spread of a local infection to the blood
Potential complications of gastrectomy
The majority of gastrectomy procedures are successful. However, complications of gastrectomy can occur and become serious. You can reduce the risk of potential complications and help manage complications if any occur by following the treatment plan you and your surgeon design specifically for you. Potential complications of gastrectomy or vertical sleeve gastrectomy include:
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Dumping syndrome (post-gastrectomy syndrome), a rapid emptying of stomach contents into the small intestine causing symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, cramping, and abdominal pain
- Gastritis (irritated stomach tissue), gastroesophageal reflux (regurgitation), and heartburn
- Injury to your abdominal organs or major blood vesselsduring the surgery
- Intestinal stricture (narrowing)
- Leaking of digested foods and digestive juices into the abdominal cavity from the area where organs are sewed together
- Malnutrition including vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which can lead to long-term complications. These include osteoporosis, anemia, and permanent nervous system damage.
- Nausea or vomiting from eating more than your smaller stomach or digestive tract can hold
- Scarring of the stomach, intestines, or esophagus leading to digestive tract blockages
- Stomach ulcers
© Copyright 2012 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. For specific medical advice, diagnoses and treatment, consult your doctor.