BACKGROUND AND AIMS It has been reported that gastric gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST) are aggressive, rare and difficult to treat. Some have advocated radical resection as the only potential cure. We present data to support treatment of gastric GISTs with a limited surgical approach and minimal morbidity. Furthermore, we propose that surveillance for recurrence is unnecessary based upon the follow-up of a cohort of patients with gastric GISTs. METHODS Database and case notes analysis of 20 patients diagnosed with gastric GIST (1998-2004) and managed by one surgeon in a single centre over seven years. Main outcome measures were inpatient adverse events, positive resection margins and symptom free survival. OUTCOMES Three cases have been managed with surveillance only. Successful resection was performed in 17 patients without mortality. No patient had positive margins on histological assessment. Fifteen out of seventeen samples were positive for the c-Kit proto-oncogene (CD117) and 14117 positive for CD34. Only two patients required en-bloc resections due to the tumour size and involvement of adjacent structures. One patient developed metastatic disease during follow-up of 19-86 months. CONCLUSIONS We recommend local excision of gastric GISTs to allow macroscopically clear margins. This policy then allows symptomatic follow-up due to the indolent nature of the majority of the tumours resected. A tailored follow-up with endoscopy and radiological imaging has been advocated by others but appears unnecessary in most cases. Imatinib (anti c-Kit) can now be offered to patients presenting with recurrent GIST, if further surgery is deemed inappropriate.