Digestive and Gastrointestinal Conditions

Pyloric Stenosis Treatment

Treatment for pyloric stenosis is surgery. Doctors make a small cut, or incision, in the thickened muscle. This opens the narrowed passageway so food can pass out of the stomach more easily. The surgery is called pyloromyotomy (pie-lor-oh-my-OTT-uh-mee).

Before the surgery, your baby will need blood tests to check for chemical imbalances caused by vomiting. Babies also need IV (intravenous) fluids to replace fluid lost from vomiting. To get enough fluid, your baby may need to stay in the hospital for a day or so before surgery.

Surgery for Pyloric Stenosis

This operation can be performed by laparoscopic surgery, which usually requires a few small cuts (incisions). Or, surgery can be performed using an open technique, which usually uses one larger incision. Your baby's surgeon will discuss this with you. In either method, surgeons make incisions near the belly button. Your baby's surgeon can make the incision almost invisible.

At the time of surgery, we give your child medicine to make them sleep without pain (general anesthesia). The surgeon makes a small incision and looks at the pylorus muscle. Then, the surgeon makes a small, length-wise cut in the pylorus muscle to spread the thickened muscle out. The surgeon does not cut the inner lining of the passageway, only the muscle around it. No tissue is removed.

The surgery takes 15 minutes to an hour. Your baby will be in the recovery room for another hour. Some babies take more time to wake from anesthesia. Their time in the operating room will be longer than the actual surgery time.

After surgery, your baby will stay in the hospital for one to two days. During this time, your baby may still vomit a little as their body adjusts to the surgery. This is normal.

We will give your baby pain medicine to make them comfortable. They will also continue to get IV fluids until they can take enough formula or breast milk by mouth.

Your baby's feeding will start slowly, with watered-down formula at first. The amount and strength of each feeding will be increased a little each time your baby eats. As soon as your baby can eat regular full-strength formula or breast milk and keep it down for several hours, they can go home.

After Surgery for Pyloric Stenosis

At home, your baby will need slower feedings with more frequent burping for a few days. Then you can go back to your usual feeding routine.

You'll need to keep the incision clean and dry until it heals. The surgery team will teach you how to do this. Otherwise, you can care for your baby normally. There is no need to limit your baby's activities.

About two to three weeks after surgery, your baby will need to see the surgeon for a follow-up visit. The surgeon will make sure the incision is healing and your child is able to eat normally.

Babies with pyloric stenosis are usually fine once they recover from surgery and are eating well. They're at no greater risk than other children for stomach, intestine or other problems later on.