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Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital Offers Rare Gastric Electric Stimulation Surgery

HOUSTON, TX (May22, 2009)


Surgeons at Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital performed the first gastric electric stimulation surgery for the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System. Gastric electrical stimulation is intended to reduce symptoms of chronic nausea and vomiting associated with gastroparesis of diabetic or idiopathic origin that resists treatment with medication.

Acting as a "pacemaker for the stomach," The Enterra neurostimulator is a small device (about the size of a pocket watch) implanted beneath the skin, usually in the lower abdomen (below the rib cage and above the belt line). It sends mild electrical impulses to the stomach to stimulate the nerves and smooth muscles of the lower stomach.

This may help to control the chronic nausea and vomiting associated with gastroparesis of diabetic or idiopathic origin when drugs have not worked. Stimulation can be adjusted to the appropriate settings with a handheld, external programmer used doctors. The therapy is reversible and can be turned off by doctors at any time.  The size of the devices is 2.4 inches long and weighs 1.5 ounces. The battery life of the device is(space)estimated to last approximately 7 years.

About Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis is a stomach disorder in which food is digested more slowly than normal. In a healthy digestive system, strong muscular contractions move food from the stomach through the digestive tract. With gastroparesis, however, the stomach muscles work poorly (or not at all), thus preventing the stomach from emptying properly.

The most common causes of gastroparesis are Idiopathic (no known cause) and Diabetes, either type 1 or type 2. Common symptoms of this condition include: nausea, vomiting, abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, feelings of fullness after only a few bites of food (early satiety), heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), changes in blood sugar levels, lack of appetite and excessive weight loss.

The impact of gastroparesis on physical well-being can be devastating. It can cause chronic nausea and vomiting and lead to malnutrition and inadequate blood sugar levels. Medication and diet changes are standard treatments for gastroparesis. But on their own, they may not provide enough relief. Memorial Hermann Southwest is one of only two Houston locations where the rare surgical procedure is performed. For more information about this surgery, please contact 713.222.CARE or visit

About Memorial Hermann

An integrated health system, Memorial Hermann is known for world-class clinical expertise, patient-centered care, leading edge technology, and innovation. Memorial Hermann serves the greater Houston community through 11 hospitals and many specialty programs and services, including three premier Heart & Vascular Institutes, TIRR|Memorial Hermann, Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, a Sports Medicine Institute, the Mischer Neuroscience Institute, seven comprehensive Cancer Centers, 27 sports medicine and rehabilitation centers, a substance abuse treatment center and dozens of other specialty and outpatient centers. Memorial Hermann operates one of two level 1 trauma centers in Houston and provides the Life Flight air ambulance program as well as the city's only burn treatment center. To learn more, visit, or call 713.222.CARE.