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What Is Gastropexy?

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  • Written By: Andrew Kirmayer
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 10 April 2014
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Gastropexy is a surgical operation in which part of the stomach can be attached to the abdominal wall. It is often performed to treat Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), so the stomach can’t get through an opening in the diaphragm, the muscle that typically controls movement of the lungs during breathing. This procedure may be an open surgery or performed using instruments and a camera through small incisions. There are different methods of gastropexy and the procedure is done on humans, as well as dogs suffering from a condition in which the stomach fills with gas and gets twisted.

To treat GERD, a gastropexy typically sutures the stomach to the diaphragm. The organ then cannot usually pass through the muscle and into the chest. This digestive system surgery is often performed laparascopically, meaning a camera and one or more instruments may be inserted into small incisions in the abdomen. Surgeons can view an image from a camera on a screen in the operating room. Other instruments that may be use include a cold light source, scissors, clamps, or suction devices.

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Also common in dogs, the surgery can be performed in various ways. A gastropexy can entail the stomach being sutured to the right side of the abdominal wall. Muscles are typically cut and then sutured between cuts in the stomach; laparascopic procedures often accomplish this task without a patient having to stay in the hospital. During open surgeries, sometimes a flap is cut from the stomach and wrapped around strands of the abdominal wall, while surgeons can also take the stomach flap and attach it to a rib on the right side of the body.

Gastropexy is sometimes performed on dogs to treat a condition in which a build-up of gas can cause the stomach to swell and twist. The blood supply may be cut off to the stomach and even the heart, so the condition can be fatal. Symptoms such as restlessness, pain, and shock are often warning signs of imminent danger.

When a gastropexy is performed as a laparascopic surgery, the procedure is usually shorter and there is typically less pain afterward. Recovery time in either humans or dogs is generally faster as well. The surgery is usually less expensive and most patients return home the same day it is performed. Many times the problem is permanently corrected, but sometimes people require the surgery again down the road, or require medication to control symptoms that continue to persist.

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