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The facts about pyloric stenosis

Pyloric stenosis is a frequent condition that happens to babies and is treated with surgery. Most common symptom is vomiting. It affects boys four times more than girls, especially the age group from 4 to 6 weeks. Etiology of this condition is unknown, but it is a fact that pyloric muscle in this condition thickens and becomes bigger. Number of muscle fibers also increases, which is called hypertrophy. Pylorus looks like an olive and it is 1-1.5 inches long. Symptoms are visible and vomiting excretes stomach content without the presence of bile. It happens after the baby has eaten, approximately one hour after the meal. Babies are exhausted, do not progress in weight, they lose a lot of electrolytes due to vomiting, and metabolic misbalance can also happen because of the lost chlorine ions.

It usually starts after the second week of life. In the beginning vomiting content is small, but later on, as the condition progresses, entire food taken in gets thrown out. Jaundice can happen as a following condition sometimes and it is caused by the malnutrition and liver which is still not formed completely. Diagnose is established with the help of the symptoms and medical analysis (ultrasound). Lab analysis also point to metabolic alkalosis, hypochloremia, hyponatremia and hypokalemia.

The treatment options

Treatment requires surgery, which can be performed only when the balance of electrolytes is restored. Extramucosal pylorotomy is done during surgery – all layers of pylorus are cut up to the mucosa level, taking care of the mucosa itself. Even though pyloric stenosis is mostly affecting children, it can also happen to adults as a complication of untreated stomach ulcers, especially if that condition was not treated for years and is located in pylorus area. As a result of frequent ulcer reactivation, scar tissue is created and that type of tissue is responsible for the induction of pyloric stenosis. In adults, the same symptoms emerge as in children, including nausea and vomiting.

As for the treatment, the same method is applied for adults. There are several types of operations such as pyloromyotomy and laparoscopic method. When the surgery is over, post operative period will also include some vomiting until the gastrointestinal tract realizes that entire pathway is free and without obstacles. Complications happen rarely and they might consist of an incomplete surgery, which will be shown when vomiting start again. Of course, this means that the surgery will be performed again. Successful surgery usually leaves no mark on a patient’s health.

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