Gastrectomy refers to removal of part or all of the stomach. This is most commonly performed for Stomach Tumours but may also need to be performed for benign diseases, which do not respond to other treatments, such as a persistent ulcer.
A gastrectomy is a major surgery. The amount of stomach which needs to be removed depends on the type of tumour, whether it is benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous) and the location of the tumour within the stomach.
If the operation is performed for cancer, the surrounding fatty tissue and lymph nodes are removed along with the stomach and the tumour in an attempt to clear all the cancer cells from the body. Depending on the stage or extent of the cancer, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy may also be required.
In some circumstances it may be possible to perform part of the operation by Keyhole Surgery. This means much smaller incisions with less postoperative pain and a better cosmetic result.
The recovery can be just a few days in hospital for a small resection, to more than a week for larger resections. If a large amount of stomach has to be removed, eating and digesting food can be quite different after surgery. Part of the recovery process in this setting is to learn a new way of eating in liaison with dieticians and your surgeon.