Stomach cancer surgery (gastrectomy)

Partial or total gastrectomy

A major operation to remove part or all of the stomach

What is a gastrectomy?

Stomach removal surgery (gastrectomy) is usually used to treat cancer. However, your consultant may recommend it if you have stomach ulcers or need to lose a lot of weight quickly.

There are different types of gastrectomy: full, partial, sleeve and oesophageal. They're all major medical procedures.

Need to know

  • What happens during the procedure? icon plus

    Exactly what happens during your procedure depends on the type of gastrectomy you have. They're all carried out under general anaesthetic.

    If you have open surgery, your surgeon makes a large cut in your abdomen and then removes part or all of your stomach.

    If you have keyhole surgery (laparoscopic surgery), your surgeon makes a number of small cuts in your abdomen and uses specialist instruments to remove part or all of your stomach.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Because this procedure involves general anaesthetic, your consultant will tell you how long you should avoid eating and drinking before your operation. They'll let you know if you need to do anything else to prepare.

    As with all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you and answer any questions you might have.
  • After the gastrectomy icon plus

    You'll have a catheter. You won't be very mobile so it'll allow you to empty your bladder without going to the toilet.

    Depending on your procedure, you might have a tube passing through your nose into your stomach or small intestine. Until you can eat normally, you get the nutrients you need through a small tube in one of your veins or into your bowel.

    Regular pain relief will help you feel more comfortable. You'll be cared for in hospital for at least two nights. It could take at least two weeks for you to recover. Your consultant will let you know when you can get back to your usual routine. You'll also be given dietary advice.

Paying for medical treatment

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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