Having a sick child is one of the scariest things a parent can face. A condition like pyloric stenosis can be especially scary since it makes it difficult for a child to keep their food down. Fortunately, it’s a rare condition. However, knowing the symptoms will help your child get the treatment they need as quickly as possible.
Pyloric stenosis affects the pyloric muscle that separates the stomach from the small intestine. It causes the muscle to thicken and swell, preventing the natural digestion process. This can result in projectile vomiting, dehydration, and constipation. The condition is treated surgically allowing babies to eat again within 24 hours.
Pediatric Surgery in Evansville, Indiana
At Evansville Surgical Associates, we understand the unique needs of infants, children, and teens regarding surgical care. We also understand the needs of parents when the most vulnerable members of their families require surgery. That’s why we focus on easing the minds of you and your child, building trust to help pediatric surgery go as smoothly as possible.
We offer a wide range of pediatric surgery procedures for Evansville, IN, and the greater tri-state area, including:
- Hernia repair
- Pyloric stenosis
Our surgeons are board-certified and trained in the latest pediatric surgical techniques. This means that you get more than a surgeon when you choose Evansville Surgical Associates—you also receive peace of mind knowing that your child is receiving the highest quality care.
Learn about pediatric surgery in Evansville, Indiana!
What is Pyloric Stenosis?
Pyloric stenosis is a rare gastric outlet obstruction that affects around three out of every 1,000 babies in the United States. While it may not affect many infants, it has a major impact on those who develop the condition. This is because it affects the pyloric muscle, an important valve that allows people to digest food properly.
The pyloric muscle is located between the stomach and the first part of the small intestine. When healthy, it acts as a valve that holds food in the stomach until it’s ready for the next part of the digestive process. Unfortunately, this muscle can thicken and become enlarged. This prevents food from reaching the small intestine, leading to serious symptoms and complications.
Symptoms of pyloric stenosis usually develop within three to five weeks after birth. Babies with pyloric stenosis develop symptoms such as:
- Increasingly severe projectile vomiting
- Constant hunger
- Stomach contractions
- Weight loss
Babies can’t tell you that they’re thirsty, but there are signs of dehydration that you can be on the lookout for. Lethargy is a common sign as well as crying without tears. You may also notice fewer wet diapers or diapers that aren’t as wet as they usually are.
The root cause of pyloric stenosis isn’t currently known. However, there are certain risk factors that may play a role in developing the condition.
- Being firstborn, especially boys
- Being white or Hispanic
- A family history of the condition
- Premature birth
- Smoking while pregnant
- Certain antibiotics
Certain antibiotics can be a risk factor in a couple of different ways. In some cases, it may be due to a baby receiving medication only a few weeks after being born. Pyloric stenosis can also occur if the mother took antibiotics late during the pregnancy.
Learn when pediatric surgery may be necessary for your child.
Your child’s pediatrician can diagnose pyloric stenosis. This can be done using:
- Blood tests
- Abdominal ultrasound
Blood tests can be used to check your baby for dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance. With an abdominal ultrasound, the pediatrician can see and confirm if pyloric stenosis is present. Sometimes the ultrasound results may not be clear enough to provide a conclusive result. In cases like these, X-rays of the digestive system can be taken to detect the condition.
Surgery is the only treatment for pyloric stenosis with procedures often performed on the same day. It may be necessary to stabilize your child first if they are dehydrated or have an electrolyte imbalance. In these instances, your baby will be provided fluids using an IV beforehand. They will go to surgery once tests indicate that they have been adequately rehydrated and stabilized.
Surgery for pyloric stenosis is known as a pyloromyotomy. The surgeon cuts the outer layer of the pylorus muscle. This allows the muscle to bulge out and makes it easier for food from the stomach to the small intestine.
More fluids may be required once surgery has been completed. You should be able to resume feeding your child small amounts of breast milk or breast milk formula within 24 hours of following surgery. They will start gaining weight as they are able to keep food down. Surgery has a 97.8% success rate and there shouldn’t be any long-term effects for your child from the procedure.
Does your child need surgery in Evansville, IN? Call us at (812) 424-8231 or (800) 264-8231 to schedule your appointment!
The stiffening and swelling of the pyloric muscle is known as pyloric stenosis. It interrupts the natural digestion process, causing vomiting, dehydration, and constipation. The root cause isn’t currently known, but risk factors include a family history of the condition and premature birth. Surgery is the only form of treatment with most babies being able to eat again within 24 hours.
Evansville Surgical Associates has been providing comprehensive and compassionate surgical care for over 50 years. Call us at (812) 424-8231 or (800) 264-8231. We are available from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. if you would like to schedule an appointment.