Digestive and Gastrointestinal Conditions
Pyloric Stenosis Treatment
Treatment for pyloric stenosis is surgery. Doctors make a small cut (incision) in the thickened muscle. This opens the narrow passage so food can pass more easily out of the stomach. The surgery is called pyloromyotomy (pie-lor-oh-my-OTT-uh-mee).
Before the surgery, your baby will need blood tests to check for electrolyte 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 surgery can usually be done through a few small cuts (incisions), called laparoscopic surgery. Or, the surgery can be done using an open technique, which usually uses 1 larger incision. Your baby’s surgeon will discuss this with you. In either method, surgeons usually 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 (general anesthesia) to make them sleep without pain. The doctors at Seattle Children’s who give your child anesthesia are board certified in pediatric anesthesiology. They have extra years of training in how to take care of children.
The surgeon makes a small incision over your baby’s stomach and looks at the pylorus muscle. Then, the surgeon makes a small, length-wise cut in the pylorus muscle to spread out the thickened muscle. The surgeon does not cut the inner lining of the passage, only the muscle around it. No tissue is removed.
The surgery takes 15 minutes to 1 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 is often longer than the actual surgery time because they need time to wake up from anesthesia.
After surgery, your baby will stay in the hospital for 1 to 2 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. We will increase the amount and strength of feedings 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.
A surgery clinic nurse will call you 5 to 7 days after you go home from the hospital. If all is well, you do not need to return to the surgery clinic for a visit. If you or the nurse has any concerns about your child’s healing, we will set up a visit for you.
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.
If you have questions about pyloric stenosis treatment, call our General and Thoracic Surgery Department at 206-987-2794, extension 4.