Commonly referred to as delayed gastric emptying, gastroparesis occurs when the stomach takes too long to empty its contents. This condition is often caused by weakened stomach contractions as a result of diabetes, chronic narcotic use or a tight pylorus valve that makes it difficult for the stomach to properly empty. In some individuals, gastroparesis may contribute to acid reflux symptoms.
Common symptoms of gastroparesis include:
- Pain in upper abdomen
- Nausea and vomiting
- High and low glucose levels
- Acid reflux
Symptoms of gastroparesis range from mild to severe. When symptoms become severe or multiple symptoms are present, a gastric emptying study may be completed to diagnose gastroparesis.
Treatment of Gastroparesis
If gastroparesis is diagnosed, medications may be used to stimulate proper stomach contractions. Those with a history of using narcotic medications will be instructed to reduce their use of those drugs, as this may help alleviate the condition.
Along with these interventions, surgically opening the tightened pylorus valve in a procedure called a pyloroplasty may be necessesary. The pylorus valve is located at the bottom of the stomach. During this procedure, the valve is cut and reshaped, allowing contents from the stomach to empty more quickly and efficently.
During the procedure the patient is under general anesthesia while the surgeon uses laparoscopic techniques to widen and relax the valve separating the stomach and the upper part of the small intestine.
The laparoscopic procedure is completed through three to five minor incisions with the use of a laparoscope, a thin, flexible tube equipped with a light, camera and other surgical equipment. Your GI Surgical Specialists surgeon can view the damaged nerve on a monitor in the operating room while guiding the laparoscope.
This form of minimally invasive surgery provides several benefits over traditional or open procedures:
- Minimal scarring
- Reduced hospital stay
- Less postoperative pain
- Faster recovery period
Your surgeon will discuss any potential risks or complications associated with the procedure prior to your operation.
If you are a patient considering laparoscopic pyloroplasty for gastroparesis treatment, it’s necessary to be evaluated by a surgeon who specializes in minimally invasive surgical procedures. Dr. Denk at GI Surgical Specialists is qualified to help patients in need of laparoscopic pyloroplasty in Naples and Ft. Myers.