Pyloric stenosis is an uncommon condition affecting the opening (pylorus) between the stomach and small intestine in infants. The pylorus is a muscular valve that holds food in the stomach until it is ready for the next stage in the digestive process.
In pyloric stenosis, the pylorus muscles thicken, blocking food from entering the baby's small intestine. Pyloric stenosis can lead to forceful vomiting, dehydration and weight loss. Babies with this condition may seem to always be hungry.
Pyloric stenosis can be fixed with surgery.
The pylorus is a muscular valve that holds food in the stomach until it is ready for the next stage in the digestive process. ...
In pyloric stenosis, the pylorus muscles thicken, blocking food from entering the baby's small intestine. ...
Signs of pyloric stenosis usually appear within three to six weeks after birth. Pyloric stenosis is rare in babies older than age 3 months.
Watch for these signs and symptoms:
When to see a doctor
The causes of pyloric stenosis are unknown, but genetic and environmental factors probably play a role.
Risk factors for pyloric stenosis include:
Pyloric stenosis can lead to:
Preparing for your appointment
If you suspect that your child has pyloric stenosis, you're likely to start by seeing your child's regular doctor. However, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in treating digestive disorders (gastroenterologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
Questions to ask your doctor
What to expect from your doctor
Tests and diagnosis
Often, your baby's doctor can feel an olive-shaped lump — the enlarged pyloric muscle — when examining your baby's abdomen. The peristaltic waves in the baby's abdomen are another telltale sign of pyloric stenosis.
Your doctor may also order blood tests to look for signs of dehydration.
An ultrasound will usually confirm the diagnosis.
Treatments and drugs
Pyloric stenosis is typically treated with a surgical procedure known as pyloromyotomy (pie-lor-o-my-OT-uh-me). The surgeon cuts through the outside layer of the thickened pylorus muscle, allowing the inner lining to bulge out. This opens a channel for food to pass through to the small intestine.
Results of surgery are generally excellent with few complications.
Surgery is often scheduled on the same day as the diagnosis. If your baby is dehydrated or has an electrolyte imbalance, he or she will receive fluid replacement before surgery.
Pyloromyotomy is often done using minimally invasive surgery. The surgeon operates through a slender viewing instrument (laparoscope) inserted through a small incision near your baby's navel. Recovery from the laparoscopic procedure is quicker than is recovery from a traditional open surgery, and the procedure leaves a smaller scar.
After surgery, your baby may receive IV fluids for a few hours or until he or she can eat. It's common for some vomiting to occur for a few days after surgery.
Potential complications of surgery include bleeding and infection, but the rate of complications is low. Pyloromyotomy doesn't increase the risk of future stomach or intestinal problems.
Most infants return home within 48 hours. Recovery from surgery takes about a week. Your baby may want to feed more often following surgery — this is normal.
In surgery to treat pyloric stenosis (pyloromyotomy), the surgeon makes an incision in the wall of the pylorus. The lining of the pylorus bulges through the incision, opening a channel from the ...
Last Updated: 2012-11-16
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