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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A gastrectomy is surgery to remove part or all of your stomach.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
Before your surgery:
- Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
- An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
- General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Anesthesia may be given through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.
- Nasogastric (NG) tube: An NG tube is put into your nose, and passes down your throat until it reaches your stomach. Food and medicine may be given through an NG tube if you cannot take anything by mouth. The tube may instead be attached to suction if caregivers need to keep your stomach empty.
During your surgery:
An incision will be made on your abdomen. Your healthcare provider will carefully cut through or push aside muscles and other tissues until your stomach is seen. Depending on your condition, your healthcare provider may remove the whole stomach or leave part of it. He will connect your esophagus or the remaining stomach to your small intestine. A thin tube may be placed in your incision to drain fluids or blood from your abdomen. The incision will be closed with stitches or staples and covered with bandages.
After your surgery:
You may be taken to a recovery room, where you will stay until you are fully awake. Healthcare providers will watch you closely for problems. Do not try to get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When healthcare providers see that you are okay, you will be taken back to your hospital room. You will have bandages covering your incision to keep the area clean and dry, and to prevent infection. A healthcare provider may remove the bandages soon after your surgery to check your wound.
- Activity: You may need to walk around the same day of surgery, or the day after. Movement will help prevent blood clots. You may also be given exercises to do in bed. Do not get out of bed on your own until your caregiver says you can. Talk to caregivers before you get up the first time. They may need to help you stand up safely. When you are able to get up on your own, sit or lie down right away if you feel weak or dizzy. Then press the call light button to let caregivers know you need help.
- Take deep breaths and cough 10 times each hour. This will decrease your risk for a lung infection. Take a deep breath and hold it for as long as you can. Let the air out and then cough strongly. Deep breaths help open your airway. You may be given an incentive spirometer to help you take deep breaths. Put the plastic piece in your mouth and take a slow, deep breath, then let the air out and cough. Repeat these steps 10 times every hour.
- Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
- Antinausea medicine: This medicine may be given to calm your stomach and to help prevent vomiting.
- Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
- Patient controlled analgesia: You may get pain medicine through an IV or an epidural line attached to a patient controlled analgesia (PCA) pump. Caregivers set the pump to let you give yourself small amounts of pain medicine when you push a button. Your pump may also give you a constant amount of medicine, in addition to the medicine that you give yourself. Let caregivers know if your pain is still bad even with the pain medicine.
- Monitoring: Healthcare providers may check your pulse on your arms or wrists. This is done to learn if you have problems with blood flow after your surgery. You may also have any of the following:
- Heart monitor: This is also called an ECG or EKG. Sticky pads placed on your skin record your heart's electrical activity.
- Intake and output may be measured. Healthcare providers will keep track of the amount of liquid you are getting. They also may need to know how much you are urinating. Ask healthcare providers if they need to measure or collect your urine.
- A pulse oximeter is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. A cord with a clip or sticky strip is placed on your finger, ear, or toe. The other end of the cord is hooked to a machine.
- You may have an allergic reaction to the anesthesia medicine, and have trouble breathing. Surgery may cause bleeding or an infection such as pneumonia. After surgery, you may not get enough nutrients. You may be able to only eat small amounts of food. You may have dumping syndrome (loose watery stools soon after you eat). You may get a blood clot in your arm or leg. The clot may travel to your heart or brain and cause life-threatening problems, such as a heart attack or stroke. Even with treatment, your symptoms may get worse.
- Without surgery, your symptoms may get worse. You may have difficulty eating or keeping food down. If you have cancer of the stomach, it could spread to other parts of your body. You may have bleeding from nearby blood vessels, and this could be life-threatening.
CARE AGREEMENT:You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.