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What is an Antrectomy?

By Dulce Corazon
Updated Jan 29, 2024
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Antrectomy, also called partial gastrectomy, is a surgical procedure in which the antrum of the stomach is removed. The antrum is a part of the stomach located between the stomach's body, where food are usually processed, and the stomach's pylorous, which is the section connected to the small intestines. This procedure is frequently performed on patients whose peptic ulcer disease does not respond well to medications. Since the antrum is said to contribute to stomach acid production, antrectomy often helps lessen the amount of stomach acids in these patients.

Other reasons for an antrectomy include trauma to the abdomen, cancer, and gastric outlet obstruction. Examples of trauma that may result in an antrectomy are gunshots and stab wounds that have caused damage to the first part of the small intestines and the pancreas. In cases where blood vessels are injured, it is usually done as an emergency procedure.

Some cancers, such as pancreatic cancer and liver cancer, may compress sections of the stomach and lead to disorders in digestion. Blockage in the pylorous also often leads to gastric outlet obstruction (GOO). When this happens, food in the stomach is not emptied into the small intestines. An antrectomy is usually done to relieve these problems. Patients with stomach cancer are also frequently treated with antrectomy to remove malignant tissues in the stomach.

During the procedure, patients are often placed under general anesthesia. The surgeon then opens up the abdomen to expose the stomach and to remove the antrum. In many antrectomy operations, the surgeon may also perform a vagotomy, in which some branches of the tenth cranial nerve, or the vagus nerve, are cut. This nerve mostly contributes to the production of gastric acid in the stomach.

After an antrectomy, patients are usually kept in the hospital for a few days for monitoring. They are often given medications for pain, and antibiotics to prevent infection. These patients are also given instructions to watch their diet, and to undergo endoscopic check-up at least six weeks later. Home recovery may take many weeks.

One of the complications that some patients may experience after the procedure is dumping syndrome. This is when the food eaten leaves the stomach quickly and is emptied in the intestines. Symptoms are lightheadedness, sweating, nausea, and rapid heart beat. Other risks involved with the procedure include weight loss, swallowing difficulty, and diarrhea. Some patients may also present with malnutrition.

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Discussion Comments
By ceilingcat — On Feb 19, 2012

From what I understand, an antrectomy is a lot easier to recover from than a gastrectomy (that's where they completely remove your whole stomach.) People who have had antrectomies at least end up with fully functioning stomaches afterwards, while people with gastrectomies are drastically affected for the rest of their lives.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that an antrectomy doesn't sound fun, but it could be worse.

By starrynight — On Feb 18, 2012

@JessicaLynn - I'm pretty surprised people can function normally while missing part of their stomach too. But consider the fact that the liver can regenerate itself, and this doesn't sound that strange!

I am surprise that nerves have anything to do with stomach acid production. I always thought nerves mostly served to carry sensory information through the body.

But since apparently the vagus nerve does affect acid production, it makes sense to remove part of it during an antrectomy that's being done to relieve H. pylori symptoms. After all, what's the point of only getting rid of the acid problem halfway?

By JessicaLynn — On Feb 18, 2012

It's interesting that removing part of the stomach by doing an antrectomy is the answer to so many health conditions. I had no idea you could treat extreme ulcer symptoms by actually removing part of the stomach that produces acid. Not to mention the fact that an antrectomy is used to also treat cancer, trauma, and obstruction!

The human body really amazes me though. Because it sounds like after recovery, a person who has had an antrectomy can pretty much function normally!

By candyquilt — On Feb 18, 2012

@burcinc-- Recovery really depends on the person. I had a lot of issues after my antrectomy. I couldn't really eat due to the pain and nausea and when I did, dumping and diarrhea made sure I didn't get any nutrients from my food. I lost too much weight and was malnutrition-ed.

I had to be put on a feeding tube and this continued for several months until my stomach could heal. I would have probably been fine faster if I could eat but I just couldn't. I used have this intense pain whenever I ate anything and felt nauseated all the time.

I started eating foods again very slowly when I was on the feeding tube because my stomach had become really sensitive. It's been a year and I'm fine now thankfully. I don't have any pain, nausea or diarrhea any more. But it was a scary couple of months for me after the operation. I think most people have it a lot better than me. My body just didn't handle the operation too well.

By SteamLouis — On Feb 17, 2012

@burcinc-- My dad had this operation for gastric ulcer and symptoms that just wouldn't go away. He was out of the hospital in two days and recovery went well but it did take about two months for some of the bad symptoms and side effects to disappear.

He ate most foods but we generally made him soft foods like mashed potatoes, soup and porridge. He had the dumping problem though, along with diarrhea so he did lose some weight at first.

After several weeks, he started feeling better and better. Dumping slowly decreased and so did the diarrhea. He just made sure to eat slowly and in small portions as eating too fast and too much made the dumping way worse.

If your mom can come back for another couple of weeks to look after your grandfather after you, I think that would be good. I mean there isn't much to do as a caregiver aside from preparing comforting foods and such. But it definitely helps to have someone there for errands.

By burcinc — On Feb 17, 2012

My grandfather is scheduled for an antrectomy next month due to duodenal ulcer. My mom and I are planning to be with him during recovery to make it as easy as possible for him. But we really don't know what to expect.

Will he be able to eat normally after the procedure? Are there any physical limitations as to what he can do and can't do post operation?

How long does recovery generally last? My mom can be with him for several weeks and then I will go for two weeks so that he is never alone. I'm wondering if he will be all right in about a month post-surgery because I have to take leave from my job.

I would appreciate any information and suggestions!

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