by McCoy K
(Total Gastrectomy; Partial Gastrectomy; Subtotal Gastrectomy; Stomach Removal)

How To Say It: gas-TREK-tuh-mee


A gastrectomy removes all or part of the stomach.

  • Partial—removes some of the stomach. The rest of the stomach is connected to the esophagus and small intestines.
  • Total—all of the stomach is removed. A new stomach is made from the small intestines
  • Abdominal Organs, Anterior View
    gastro intestinal stomach
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    Reasons for Procedure

    Gastrectomy is done to treat:

  • Stomach cancer
  • Ulcer disease
  • Bleeding
  • Inflammation
  • Benign stomach tumors
  • Obesity
  • Possible Complications

    Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

    • Damage to nearby organs
    • Leaking from the remaining stomach, intestine, or esophagus
    • Infection
    • Bleeding
    • Intestines coming out of the incision (hernia)
    • Blood clots
    • Problems from anesthesia

    Things that may raise the risk of problems are

    • Smoking
    • Drinking too much alcohol
    • Chronic disease such as diabetes

    What to Expect

    Prior to Procedure

    The doctor will review images of the stomach and test results. Other images may be needed to help plan the surgery. The doctor may also want to place a feeding tube in the intestines beyond the stomach. This can help you get nutrition if your stomach needs time to heal after surgery.

    The surgical team may meet with you to talk about

    • Anesthesia options
    • Any allergies you may have
    • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before surgery
    • Fasting before surgery, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
    • Whether you need a ride to and from surgery
    • Specialists you may need to see


    This surgery will be done with general anesthesia You will be asleep.

    Description of the Procedure

    There are two ways the doctor might access the stomach to remove all or part of it:

  • Open: an incision is made in the belly
  • Laparascopic: smaller incisions are made in the belly. Tools are passed through the incisions to help the doctor. This way could reduce the risk of problems after the surgery.
  • The nerves that help make stomach acid may also be cut to manage ulcers in a partial gastrectomy.

    After the surgery is complete, the muscles and skin of the abdomen will be closed with stitches or staples. Bandages will be applied.

    How Long Will It Take?

    1 to 3 hours or more

    How Much Will It Hurt?

    Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Medication and rest can help after.

    Average Hospital Stay

    People stay is 6 to 12 days. If you have any problems you may need to stay longer. If your surgery was done laparoscopically, you may not have to stay as long.

    Post-procedure Care

    At the HospitalPreventing Infection

    After the procedure the staff will tell you:

    • When and what you can eat
    • How you need to restrict your activity

    As your stomach stretches during recovery, you will be able to eat a little more at each meal. Those with a total gastrectomy will need to eat smaller amounts of food more often.

    Your bowels may not work like they used to. It may take longer for you to have bowel movements (poop).

    During your stay, staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:

    • Washing their hands
    • Wearing gloves or masks
    • Keeping your incisions covered

    There are also steps you can take to reduce your chance of infection such as:

    • Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and staff to do the same
    • Reminding staff to wear gloves or masks
    • Not allowing others to touch your incision

    It will take time for your stomach and incisions to heal. Some activity will be limited during recovery. This may affect work and day to day life.

    It could take several weeks for a person to go back to eating like they did before their partial gastrectomy. Those who get a full gastrectomy will need several months to get used to new ways to eat.

    Problems to Look Out For

    Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

    • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
    • Diarrhea
    • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision
    • Nausea or vomiting that will not go away
    • Pain that you cannot control with the medications you were
    • Pain or swelling in your feet, calves, or legs
    • Pain, burning, urgency or frequency of urination, or persistent bleeding in the urine
    • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain

    If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.


    National Cancer Institute 

    National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases 


    Canadian Cancer Society 

    Provincial Health Services Authority 


    About your gastrectomy surgery. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center website. Available at: Accessed March 10, 2022.

    Duncan, M.D. What to know about stomach cancer surgery. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: Accessed March 10, 2022.

    Gastrectomy. Medical University of South Carolina website. Available at: Accessed March 10, 2022.

    Gastric carcinoma. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:  . Accessed March 10, 2022.

    Huang, C., Liu, H., et al. Laparoscopic vs. open distal gastrectomy for locally advanced gastric cancer: five-year outcomes from the CLASS-01 randomized clinical trial. JAMA Surgery, 2021; 157(1): 9-17.

    Marsh, A.M., and Buicko, J.L. Gastric resection. Stat Pearls, 2022. Available at: Accessed March 10, 2022.

    Stomach cancer Cancer Research UK website. Available at: Accessed March 10, 2022.

    Treatment choices based on the extent of stomach cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at Accessed March 10, 2022.

    Treatment option overview. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: Accessed March 10, 2022.

    Revision Information