Peptic Ulcer - Vagotomy & GJ


A vagotomy is a type of surgery that removes all or part of your vagus nerve. This nerve runs from the bottom of your brain, through your neck, and along your esophagus, stomach, and intestines in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

The vagus nerve has a range of functions, including helping your stomach produce acid for digestion and making you feel full after eating. Vagotomy procedures are used to help treat stomach ulcers, which are sores that result from an H. pylori infection or erosion from stomach acid.

While vagotomy procedures used to be a standard treatment for stomach ulcers, advances in medications and a better understanding of the bacteria in the gut have made them less common. When they are performed, they’re usually done in conjunction with other procedures, such as pyloroplasty.

Why it's done

Vagotomies are traditionally done to treat peptic ulcers by reducing the amount of acid your stomach produces. These days, it’s rarely done on its own. Instead, people usually start taking antibiotics to clear up an H. pylori infection or proton pump inhibitors to reduce stomach acid.

If medications alone aren’t enough, your doctor might suggest a vagotomy procedure in combination with:

  • Resection - Your doctor removes a damaged or diseased part of your digestive tract.
  • Abdominal drainage - This removes extra abdominal fluid, called ascites.
  • Diversion - Your GI tract is modified so that the digestion process moves around the damaged or diseased part.
  • Pyloroplasty - This procedure widens the pylorus, which is located near the end of your stomach. It helps to control the movement of partially digested food and digestive juices into your small intestine.

What are the different types

  • Truncal vagotomy.
  • Selective vagotomy
  • Highly selective vagotomy


A vagotomy is a surgical procedure that removes part of your vagus nerve, which serves many important functions, such as controlling the production of stomach acid. In the past, it was frequently used to treat ulcers, but new medications have made it less common, especially on its own.

These days, it’s usually done alongside another type of procedure. However, new research suggests that vagotomy procedures might have more uses than doctors originally thought.


Upper GI Surgery