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J Gastric Cancer. 2019 Mar;19(1):49-61. English. Original Article.
Kong SH , Kim SM , Kim DG , Park KH , Suh YS , Kim TH , Kim IJ , Seo JH , Lim YJ , Lee HJ , Yang HK .
Department of Surgery, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Neurology, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
Cancer Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.


The perigastric vagus nerve may play an important role in preserving function after gastrectomy, and intraoperative neurophysiologic tests might represent a feasible method of evaluating the vagus nerve. The purpose of this study is to assess the feasibility of neurophysiologic evaluations of the function and viability of perigastric vagus nerve branches during gastrectomy.

Materials and Methods

Thirteen patients (1 open total gastrectomy, 1 laparoscopic total gastrectomy, and 11 laparoscopic distal gastrectomy) were prospectively enrolled. The hepatic and celiac branches of the vagus nerve were exposed, and grabbing type stimulation electrodes were applied as follows: 10–30 mA intensity, 4 trains, 1,000 µs/train, and 5× frequency. Visible myocontractile movement and electrical signals were monitored via needle probes before and after gastrectomy. Gastrointestinal symptoms were evaluated preoperatively and postoperatively at 3 weeks and 3 months, respectively.


Responses were observed after stimulating the celiac branch in 10, 9, 10, and 6 patients in the antrum, pylorus, duodenum, and proximal jejunum, respectively. Ten patients responded to hepatic branch stimulation at the duodenum. After vagus-preserving distal gastrectomy, 2 patients lost responses to the celiac branch at the duodenum and jejunum (1 each), and 1 patient lost response to the hepatic branch at the duodenum. Significant procedure-related complications and meaningful postoperative diarrhea were not observed.


Intraoperative neurophysiologic testing seems to be a feasible methodology for monitoring the perigastric vagus nerves. Innervation of the duodenum via the celiac branch and postoperative preservation of the function of the vagus nerves were confirmed in most patients.

Trial Registration

Clinical Research Information Service Identifier: KCT0000823

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.