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A pyloromyotomy is done to correct pyloric stenosis, which may occur around the second to sixth week of life. Pyloric stenosis occurs when the opening at the far end of the stomach tightens and the stomach cannot empty its contents into the small intestine. When it becomes so tight that little or no food passes, the stomach becomes too full. This causes the baby to vomit after each feeding. When this happens, the baby loses food and digestive juices that contain important electrolytes. This causes an electrolyte imbalance in the blood. (Electrolytes are the salts and minerals in the blood.) When your baby comes to the hospital, an IV is started to replace the lost fluid and electrolytes before surgery. This usually takes a day or two.  Once the electrolytes are normal, your child will have surgery. Before surgery your baby will wear a small apnea monitor to check his/her breathing.

The Surgery

The anesthesiologist is a doctor who will help your baby sleep and feel no pain during surgery.  There are several ways to perform the surgery. The exact operation is selected by the surgeon and depends on the weight of your baby. The procedure can be done by laparoscope (a thin metal tube with a tiny camera) and two small incisions or open with one small incision. A laparoscope may be used to examine the thickened muscles of the pylorus. The surgeon will make a small cut to insert the laparoscope. A tool will be inserted through another incision to separate the thickened tight muscle at the far end of the stomach (pylorus) to allow it to open. Nothing is removed during this surgery. This takes about 30 minutes.  Then, your baby will be taken to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). Parents will be invited into the PACU as soon as the baby begins to wake up.

After the Surgery

  • The incisions will be small (about 1 inch) and will be covered with white strips of tape called steri-strips. It is important to keep these strips dry.  They will fall off by themselves in about 5-7 days.
  • For a few hours, your baby will not be allowed to eat. After a few hours, a small amount of clear liquid will be given. The diet will be slowly changed back to formula or breast milk over the 24 hours after surgery.
  • Your baby may lie on his/her stomach, but remember to put your baby on his/her back when it is time to sleep.
  • Non-aspirin pain relievers will be given to help with any pain from the incision.
  • During the first night, your baby will wear a small apnea monitor to check his/her breathing.

Other Facts about Pyloric Stenosis

  • Pyloric stenosis runs in families.  If a brother or sister had pyloric stenosis, the new baby has a higher chance of having it as well.  Also, a person who had pyloric stenosis as a newborn has a greater chance of having babies with this problem.
  • Pyloric stenosis is more common in boys.
  • Pyloric stenosis is hard to detect.  Several other problems start with vomiting in newborns.  Always ask your child’s doctor if you have questions.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 01/2018

(757) 668-7000