A pyloroplasty is a surgical treatment for the partial or complete blockage of the pylorus, a valve that restricts the flow of food between the stomach and small intestine or duodenum. This procedure is performed for a condition known as gastroparesis, in which the contents of the stomach are slow to empty causing discomfort. Other conditions, such as peptic ulcer disease, a very common condition in United States, may also block the passage of food between the stomach and the small intestine.
When medications fail to correct the problem, surgery can be considered for long-term relief. The various forms of pyloroplasty have shown excellent results in improving the symptoms of gastroparesis.
How is The Pyloroplasty Performed?
The procedure can be performed in an open or minimally invasive manner. In our practice, a pyloroplasty is almost always performed laparoscopically as it significantly reduces the risks of surgery as well as offering patients a faster and less complicated recovery.
During the procedure, three or four tiny incisions are made in the abdomen under general anesthesia. Specially made laparoscopic tools including a high definition camera are passed through these incisions to access the surgical field.
The blockage is released by making an incision in the muscles of the pyloric sphincter, which allows for the widening of the opening and improved flow of food to the small intestine. The pyloric valve is then surgically reshaped to allow long-term efficacy.
Risks and Considerations of a Pyloroplasty
A pyloroplasty is a significant surgical procedure and comes with inherent risk including pain, excessive blood loss and infection. These risks are mitigated by the experience of the surgeon as well as the use of laparoscopy.
By widening the pyloric sphincter, stomach contents rapidly empty into the small intestine as the valve mechanism is no longer as tight. This means that patients can experience adverse gastrointestinal impact including reflux of small intestine contents back into the stomach.
We will discuss these risks at consultation.
The next step for patients considering a pyloroplasty is to schedule a consultation with one of our surgeons.