Stomach ulcer surgery is a procedure performed to treat peptic ulcer disease (PUD), a break in the inner lining of the stomach causing pain or bleeding. The pain is often described as a burning or dull ache. Other symptoms include belching, vomiting, weight loss, or poor appetite.

Stomach ulcer surgery is the last line of treatment for PUD which doesn’t respond to conservative treatment methods such as use of NSAIDs, medications to reduce stomach acid and lifestyle changes as in stopping smoking and alcohol.

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Stomach Ulcer Surgery Procedure

There is a number of approaches to perform stomach ulcer surgery and the method chosen depends on the severity of the condition and surgeons’ choice. These procedures include:

  1. Graham Patch

With this technique, a patch of omentum (fatty tissue that normally covers the stomach and intestines) is transferred to cover a hole formed due to a small ulcer. This patch is sutured into place.

This technique can be done with an open laparotomy or laparoscopically.

  1. Partial Gastrectomy

With a partial gastrectomy, a small region of the stomach is cut away as the gastric ulcer is removed. This procedure is used when the ulcer is large and deep.

The hole that’s formed in the stomach after the ulcer is resected is then surgically closed; if the ulcer is located near the duodenum (opening of the small intestine), the stomach needs to be re-connected to the small intestine.

This is usually an open laparotomy and may be done laparoscopically.

  1. Vagotomy

A vagotomy is a surgical procedure in which one or more branches of the vagus nerve is cut or removed. This is done to reduce stomach acid, the release of which is stimulated by the vagus nerve and can exacerbate an ulcer.

A vagotomy is rarely performed on its own and is usually part of a procedure that includes another surgical intervention. For example, it may be done with a pyloroplasty—enlargement of the opening between the stomach and the duodenum so the stomach contents can pass more freely.

The surgical method used for vagotomy depends on the other interventions that are being done, but it can be done with an open laparotomy or laparoscopically.

Stomach Ulcer Surgery Risks and Complications

As with any surgical procedure, there is risk of complications in stomach ulcer surgery. These include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Dumping syndrome.
  • Iron deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency, folate deficiency.

Stomach Ulcer Surgery Cost

The total cost for stomach ulcer surgery depends on a lot of factors such as the anesthetic fee, private hospital fee, private operating facility fee, extent of surgery required. The total cost of the procedure is around $7,500 – $10,600.

Stomach Ulcer Surgery Recovery

The patient may experience pain or discomfort of one sort or another for quite some time after the operations. Whilst in hospital, the nursing and medical staff will work with the patient to control and minimize any discomfort. The pain generally improves over time.

A small supply of painkillers will also be prescribed. Also, a dietitian will provide important dietary advice concerning nutrition and eating.

It usually takes about 4-6 weeks to fully recover from a Peptic Ulcer Surgery.

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