Gastrojejunostomy is a surgical procedure in which a new route is created from the stomach to the small intestine. It is usually performed to resolve problems with the gastrointestinal system, such as an intestinal blockage.

Here’s more about how this procedure works, and how to contact Advanced Laparoscopic Associates to find out whether you’re an ideal candidate.

What Is a Gastrojejunostomy?

A gastrojejunostomy connects the stomach to the jejunum, which is the middle part of the small intestine. This causes food to bypass the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine. The purpose of this surgery is to establish better and more efficient digestion in instances where the duodenum is damaged or blocked, and it does not work as it should.

Sometimes, a gastrojejunostomy involves placing a feeding tube called a “gastrojejunostomy tube” in the small intestine to create a new pathway from the stomach to the jejunum.

Gastrojejunostomy may also be performed as part of a weight-loss surgery known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. In these instances, the purpose of gastrojejunostomy is to reduce the amount of calories and nutrients being absorbed by the small intestine when you eat.

Reasons for Needing a Gastrojejunostomy

There are three main reasons you may need a gastrojejunostomy:

  • To bypass a blockage or obstruction in the lower part of the stomach or duodenum, such as a tumor or scar tissue
  • To help you lose excess weight as part of bariatric surgery
  • To reconstruct part of the stomach after having a subtotal gastrectomy to treat cancer

Your doctor may also recommend having this procedure if your duodenum is severely injured and you face the risk of developing a fistula (an abnormal tunnel) to the pancreas or if you have pancreatic cancer that could spread to obstruct the stomach or duodenum.

How Is a Gastrojejunostomy Performed?

A gastrojejunostomy can be performed as either an open or laparoscopic procedure, and it takes between two and four hours to complete. When performed laparoscopically, this surgery produces less downtime, a faster recovery, shorter hospitalization and a reduced risk of complications. Laparoscopic surgery is far less invasive than open surgery.

Open vs Laparoscopic Gastrojejunostomy

With open surgery, your surgeon will make one long incision across your abdomen to access your stomach and intestines.

With laparoscopic surgery, your surgeon will make a series of small incisions on the abdomen, into which tiny surgical instruments will be inserted to perform the surgery. One of these instruments is called a laparoscope, which has a light and camera that projects images of your abdominal cavity onto a screen. This gives your surgeon a large, clear view of your insides so the surgery can be performed as carefully and as precisely as possible without the need for a larger incision.

The smaller incisions made during laparoscopic surgery are usually easy to manage and care for and generally heal more quickly than the one long incision made during open surgery. Smaller incisions also reduce the risk of complications, including bleeding and infection.

Steps of the Procedure

Gastrojejunostomy is performed in a hospital setting under general anesthesia. First, your surgeon will make one large incision or several tiny incisions on your abdomen near the lower stomach and duodenum.

Next, your surgeon will locate the end of the duodenum and measure a 10-centimeter loop of jejunum next to it. This loop will then be attached to the stomach at least five centimeters above the blockage or damaged part of the duodenum.

After this new pathway is created, your surgeon will make sure the connection is strong using techniques that check for any bleeding or leakages from the surgical site. Then, your surgeon will close your incision(s) using staples or sutures and take you to the recovery room for monitoring.

Gastrojejunostomy Recovery

Recovery from gastrojejunostomy takes an average of six weeks, though you may recover more quickly if you have laparoscopic surgery.

During that time, you’ll be advised to relax, take it easy and stick to a special diet that allows your gastrointestinal system to fully heal and adjust. You may need to consume only liquids at first, before transitioning to pureed foods, then to soft foods and finally to hard, solid foods. You may also need to take nutritional supplements to ensure you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals you need, and to avoid any deficiencies.

Who Needs a Gastrojejunostomy?

You may be an ideal candidate for gastrojejunostomy if you have an obstruction in your stomach or intestine that is preventing food from passing through. This procedure may also be done as part of gastric bypass surgery to help you lose excess weight or as a preventive procedure to treat pancreatic cancer. Your doctor can help you determine whether you’re an ideal candidate based on your condition and medical history..

Advanced Laparoscopic Associates offers bariatric and general surgeries, including gastrojejunostomy. Contact us today to request an appointment to find out if you’re an ideal candidate for this procedure.

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