The role of the distal stomach in gastric emptying was studied. Ten patients with proximal gastric vagotomy (PV) and 10 age-matched patients with Roux-en-Y gastro-jejunostomy (R-Y) were compared with 10 healthy controls. Gastric emptying of solids and liquids was determined by the use of Tc-99m SC scrambled eggs and In-111 DTPA. In PV, gastric emptying of both solids and liquids was delayed; the prolongation with solids was mainly accounted for by an abnormal lag phase. In R-Y patients, no lag phase was observed, and the solid emptying curve pattern was characterized by early rapid emptying followed by very slow emptying. Both the solid and liquid phases were prolonged. The lag phase is affected by proximal vagotomy and is mainly determined by the distal stomach, which appears to be essential for normal emptying.