What Medical Conditions Might Require an Omentectomy?

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  • Written By: Marco Sumayao
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 19 February 2019
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An omentectomy, in which a fold of tissue surrounding abdominal organs is partially or completely removed, is most often performed on patients suffering from certain types of cancer. The procedure might also be performed on patients suffering from diabetes. This is most common in extremely obese patients. In very rare cases, the tissue might get infected as a result of a partial omentectomy, requiring a second procedure to prevent any medical complications.

Women comprise a large of number of patients, as ovarian cancer is one of the primary reasons individuals undergo the procedure. Cancer cells from the ovaries can spread to the surrounding omentum, the fatty tissue removed during the surgery. Depending on how far the cancer has reached, doctors might remove part or all of the omentum in an effort to prevent the cancer from spreading any further. The procedure is often done as a follow-up after the original tumors and cysts are surgically removed.

Endometrial cancer and its subtypes can also require an omentectomy, given the endometrium's proximity to the omentum. The cancer is responsible for most cases of uterine cancer and is one of the most common types of cancer. If the cancer is left unchecked, the condition can spread to other areas of the uterus and its surrounding tissue. In cases where the uterus is compromised beyond repair, the surgery can be performed following a hysterectomy.


In men, intestinal cancer is the main reason for needing an omentectomy. The length and size of the small and large intestines can affect a large area of the omentum, significantly increasing the risk of the cancer spreading. If the cancer spreads to the omentum and is left untreated, there is a significantly increased risk of the cancer reaching the stomach and rectum, among other parts of the body.

Patients suffering from diabetes might benefit from undergoing an omentectomy, as the tissue is generally believed to contribute to glucose metabolism. By surgically removing the omentum, doctors aim to increase the patient's glucose resistance, allowing for better blood sugar control. The procedure is also recommended for excessively obese patients, who could benefit from both the increased glucose resistance and the improved fatty acid metabolism associated with the procedure.

Individuals who undergo omentectomies, however, might be under risk of an infection in the tissue, particularly during partial omentectomies. This most often occurs out of the surgeon's negligence or through medical irregularities that slow the patient's healing. These infections can prove to be fatal if allowed to spread, and so the infected tissue should be removed as soon as possible.


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Post 1

I am, admittedly, quite overweight and I've been looking into different ways to get my weight down so I can be healthier. I actually read some literature that said omentectomies are now also being considered as a treatment for obesity as an addition to a gastric bypass. If you meet the definition of obesity (when your BMI is equal or greater than 30...definitely me, unfortunately) and you're considering surgery, ask your doctor about getting an omentectomy also -- you never know, it might actually work better than the bypass for you.

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