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Pyloric Stenosis

Pyloric stenosis is a relatively common cause of vomiting in babies. Although the exact cause of the condition remains unknown, it appears to be most common in first-born males and may run in families. The condition is caused by progressive thickening of the pyloric muscle, where the baby’s stomach empties into the intestine. When this occurs, it blocks food (and stomach juices) from passing into the downstream intestines and therefore produces vomiting. The vomiting may become severe and become “projectile,” shooting out of the baby’s mouth quite a ways.”

Common Symptoms of Pyloric Stenosis

  • Forceful vomiting of milk or baby formula, normally beginning at about 3 to 5 weeks old
  • Constant hunger due to emptying of stomach
  • Dehydration due to repeated loss of fluids
  • Weight loss
  • Small stools
  • Abdominal pain and wavy motions in the stomach just after feeding and before vomiting

Laparoscopic Pyloromyotomy Surgery

After your child receives general anesthesia and intravenous antibiotics (to reduce the chance of surgical infection), the pediatric surgeon makes three tiny incisions (cuts) in the abdomen. One is in the belly button for insertion of the laparoscope (attached to a digital video camera) and the other are for the surgical instruments. The pyloric muscle is cut to relieve the blockage, leaving the inside lining of the pylorus intact.


Following surgery, babies are given intravenous (IV) fluids until completely awake and then can usually begin normal feedings by mouth immediately. Roughly 2/3 of babies with pyloric stenosis will vomit at least once during the first day after surgery, but most children tolerate progressively more to eat and can be discharge home within 24 hours of surgery.

Pyloromyotomy corrects the problem and does not cause an increased risk of stomach or intestinal problems later in life.

More Information

Learn more about Pyloric Stenosis from the American Pediatric Surgical Association

Learn What to Expect from Pyloromyotomy