Radical Gastrectomy


Radical Gastrectomy refers to the partial or complete removal of the gastric tissue along with the surrounding lymph nodes. This is often the only available curative treatment option in cases of stomach (gastric) cancers.The surgery can also stop your cancer from spreading and prevent it from coming back.

Who Needs It

It’s often part of the treatment for stomach cancer. Depending on where the cancer is in your stomach and how far it has spread, your surgeon will decide what type of treatment you need.

A total gastrectomy means the doctor will remove your entire stomach. Sometimes they only need to take out part of your stomach. They’ll call this subtotal, or partial, gastrectomy.

Even if they can’t remove all of the cancer, a partial gastrectomy may provide some relief. It isn’t a cure, but it can ease symptoms like pain and bleeding.

What Happens in a Gastrectomy

You’ll need to go to the hospital for a gastrectomy. It can take between 4 to 5 hours if the doctor makes a large incision (a cut) to remove your stomach. Or they can make several small cuts, called laparoscopic gastrectomy. It takes less time, but it isn’t as widely used.

First, you’ll get anesthesia so you sleep through the procedure. Once you’re under, a surgeon will make an incision in your belly. Through this, they’ll remove part or all of your stomach, as well as some nearby tissue like your lymph nodes. They’ll test the nodes to make sure the cancer hasn’t spread. It’s key that your doctor remove as much of the cancer as they can.

Depending on the type of procedure you have, the surgeon will decide the best way to rebuild your digestive tract.

What Happens in a Gastrectomy

  • Small meals throughout the day
  • Drink and eat at different times
  • Watch your fiber intake.
  • Go easy on dairy
  • Take a supplement


You could get what’s called dumping syndrome. When your small intestine has to digest a large amount of food at once, you may throw up or have nausea, cramps, or diarrhea. Many people notice these symptoms within an hour of eating.

If you feel sick a few hours later, your blood sugar may be rising and falling too fast. It’s common to sweat, have a fast heart rate, or feel tired or confused.

Changing what you eat can help you manage these symptoms. Remember, too, to be patient. After your gastrectomy, it may take 3 to 6 months to adjust.


Upper GI Surgery