There is no one single cause of stomach cancer but there are a number of risk factors that have been identified. Consuming salted or smoked foods as well as foods containing nitrites can increase an individual’s risk for cancer. Likewise, stomach cancer is more common in people that smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol. An infection with a bacterium called Helicobacter Pylori can also increase the risk of gastric cancer by as much as 6 times. There are a variety of surgical treatment options for gastric tumors, many of which can be performed laparoscopically.
Peptic ulcers are ulcers that can occur either in the wall of the duodenum (common) or the stomach (less common). An ulcer is a break in the lining of the stomach that is deep enough to form a crater. The vast majority of duodenal ulcers are related to an infection with Helicobacter Pylori which can be treated effectively with medication. Ulcers that do not respond to medication, or cause problems like bleeding or obstruction, may require surgical intervention.
Gastroparesis is a condition in which the muscles in your stomach don’t function normally. Gastroparesis can develop as a result of a variety of causes including Diabetes Mellitus, anorexia nervosa, bulimia, scleroderma, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, or from an injury to the Vagus nerve. There is currently no cure for gastroparesis, though making dietary changes can help you cope with some of the symptoms. The symptoms of gastroparesis can include chronic nausea, chronic diarrhea, vomiting, heartburn, bloating, abdominal pain, lack of appetite, and palpitations. These symptoms are cause for concern and if you experience them, you should immediately contact your physician.
HOW TO PREPARE
Most stomach operations require preoperative preparation which includes blood work, medical evaluation, chest x-ray and an EKG depending on your age and medical condition. If you have difficulties moving your bowels, an enema or similar preparation may be used after consulting with your surgeon.
- You may be on several days of clear liquids, laxatives and enemas prior to the operation.
- After midnight the night before the operation, you should not eat or drink anything except medications that your surgeon has told you are permissible to take with a sip of water the morning of surgery.
- Drugs such as aspirin, blood thinners, anti-inflammatory medications (arthritis medications) and Vitamin E will need to be stopped temporarily for several days to a week prior to surgery.
- Quit smoking and arrange for any help you may need at home.
Results will vary depending upon the type of procedure performed, the reason for surgery, and patient’s overall condition. Please ask your surgeon about the anticipated outcome of the surgery, and make sure all of your questions are answered prior to surgery. Surgeons are happy to discuss your individual case. Common advantages of having the surgical procedure performed laparoscopically are:
- Less postoperative pain
- May shorten hospital stay
- May result in a faster return to solid-food diet
- May result in a quicker return of bowel function
- Quicker return to normal activity
- Improved cosmetic results
WHAT TO EXPECT
After the operation, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions. Although many people feel better in a few days, remember that your body needs time to heal. You are encouraged to be out of bed the day after surgery and to walk. This will help diminish the soreness in your muscles.
You will probably be able to get back to most of your normal activities in one to two weeks’ time. These activities include showering, driving, walking up stairs, working and engaging in sexual intercourse.
Complications of laparoscopic stomach surgery include:
- Injury to adjacent organs such as the small intestine, ureter, or bladder
- Blood clots to the lungs
It is important for you to recognize the early signs of possible complications. Contact your surgeon if you notice severe abdominal pain, fevers, chills, or rectal bleeding.
Be sure to call your physician or surgeon if you develop any of the following:
- Persistent fever over 101 degrees F (39 C)
- Increasing abdominal or groin swelling
- Pain that is not relieved by your medications
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
- Inability to urinate
- Persistent cough or shortness of breath
- Purulent drainage (pus) from any location
- Redness surrounding any of your incisions that is worsening or getting bigger
- You are unable to eat or drink liquids