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Surgery for Gastric (Stomach) cancer

How is gastric surgery done?

Gastric surgery when a tumour is present in the stomach, and it may be cancerous. Dr Noorbhai will work in conjunction with the rest of your oncology team. Depending on how far the cancer has spread you may have surgery in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiation. 

You may have one of the following surgeries:

  • A partial gastrectomy – if the cancer is located at the bottom of the stomach, this procedure is done to remove part of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine, if the cancer is located in the upper stomach, then part of the oesophagus is removed. The stomach is then reattached to the small intestine and/or the oesophagus. In some cases where the cancer has spread parts of the intestinal tissue and nearby lymph nodes are removed.
  • A partial gastrectomy – if the cancer is located at the bottom of the stomach, this procedure is done to remove part of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine, if the cancer is located in the upper stomach, then part of the oesophagus is removed. The stomach is then reattached to the small intestine and/or the oesophagus. In some cases where the cancer has spread parts of the intestinal tissue and nearby lymph nodes are removed.
  • An endoscopic resection – using an endoscope through the throat, the tumour is cut from the stomach and the stomach is stitched back together.
  • Total gastrectomy – this surgery is done when the cancer has spread through the stomach. Through one large incision in the abdomen, the entire stomach, parts of the oesophagus and small intestine, the lymph nodes and stomach tissue is removed during this surgery. After this, only small amounts of food can be eaten at a time, and thus you will have to eat more often than normal.

Why would this surgery be done?

Gastric surgery is done to remove a cancerous tumour from the stomach. Which type of surgery will depend on the stage of cancer you have been diagnosed with and the location of the tumour. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, chemotherapy and radiation may be advised in combination with surgery and therefore a plan should be discussed with your oncologist and Dr Noorbhai. This surgery may also be done for palliative reasons as a way of reducing pain and suffering due to the symptoms of cancer.

How long will I be in hospital?

Most patients are able to go home after 14 days of observation in the hospital. How soon you will be discharged from hospital depends on whether you are able to drink liquids when waking up, how much pain you have and whether you have someone to look after you at home.

What will happen after gastric surgery?

Following this surgery, because a part of your stomach has been removed, your stomach is smaller and requires a change in eating habits. If you have a total gastrectomy you will need to change how much you eat at one time and eat more often.

Patients who have gastric surgery for cancer often have problems with eating and nutrition, therefore a feeding tube is often inserted into the stomach. The feeding tube can be accessed from outside the abdomen so that liquid nutrition can be put directly into the intestine.

You may experience pain after surgery, however he will try make you as comfortable as possible. You will be monitored in hospital for the next two weeks.

How soon after the surgery can I resume normal activities?

You will be able to resume normal after surgery within the next 6 weeks. 

What are the potential risks and complications of gastric cancer surgery?

The risk of complications during open surgery include:

  • Infection of the wound or internal infection.
  • Heartburn.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Diahoerea after eating.
  • Breathing problems.
  • Gastrointestinal leak.
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots.
  • Risks from general anaesthetic.
endoscopic and-laparoscopic surgery
endoscopic and-laparoscopic procedures
location

Suite 609 6th Floor Netcare Umhlanga Medical Centre, 323 Umhlanga Rocks Drive, Umhlanga Rocks, 4319, Durban

email

enquiries.surgeonza@yahoo.com

Mon to Fri: 08:00 to 16:00
Sat / Sun: Closed.