By convention, vagotomy means the division of all or part of the vagus in the abdomen. Gastric acid output falls by 50 – 70% after vagotomy, allowing duodenal ulcers to heal in most patients. Since its introduction in 1943 the operation has been much modified, and has largely replaced partial gastrectomy in the elective surgical treatment of uncomplicated chronic duodenal ulceration. In general, the need for operation is determined by the severity and duration of the symptoms, and the extent to which they interfere with the patient’s work and social life.
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