Patients with an ulcer that fails to heal despite exhaustive medical treatment require scheduled ulcer repair. Patients with an ulcer that perforates (forms a hole in the intestine) or bleeds repeatedly or excessively require emergency surgery.
In emergency situations patients only need a few simple X-rays and occasionally an upper endoscopy called an EGD. In elective situations all patients receive either an upper endoscopy or upper GI barium study. In some cases blood tests are used to look for the causes of the ulcers.
Depending upon the individual situation, the procedure can range from simply patching the hole with adjacent fatty tissue (Graham patch) to cutting the nerves which cause ulcers (vagotomy) and rerouting the intestine (pyloroplasty), to removing the part of the stomach which produces the acid (antrectomy) and rerouting the intestine.
Length of Stay
Length of stay is variable depending upon overall patient health and whether the surgery was elective or emergent. The average stay for elective surgery is about five days, whereas the stay for an emergency surgery may be longer.
Four to six weeks with no driving for two weeks and no lifting over 10 pounds for six weeks.