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Peptic Ulcers (cont.)

Peptic Ulcer Surgery

Medical therapy works in most people with peptic ulcers. Sometimes, medical therapy does not work, or a person can't take the therapy for some reason. Surgery is a good alternative to medical therapy for these people.

Surgical operations often used in peptic ulcers include the following:

  • Vagotomy: Cutting the vagus nerve, which transmits messages from the brain to the stomach, can reduce acid secretion. However, this can also interfere with other functions of the stomach. A newer operation cuts only the part of the nerve that affects acid secretion.
  • Antrectomy: This is often done in conjunction with a vagotomy. It involves removing the lower part of the stomach (the antrum). This part of the stomach produces a hormone that increases production of stomach acid. Adjacent parts of the stomach may also be removed.
  • Pyloroplasty: This procedure also is sometimes done with vagotomy. It enlarges the opening between the stomach and duodenum (the pylorus) to encourage passage of partially digested food. Once the food has passed, acid production normally stops.
  • Tying off an artery: If bleeding is a problem, cutting off the blood supply (artery) to the ulcer can stop the bleeding.
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