Background: Previous descriptions of a laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, using a circular stapler to perform the gastrojejunal anastomosis, have employed the esophagus as a conduit to introduce the anvil of the stapling device into the stomach. The authors believe that the risk of injury to the esophagus, as well as the difficulty in maneuvering the anvil from the pharynx to the proximal part of the stomach, make this technique less than optimal. In other descriptions (in a porcine model) the anvil has been guided into position through a distal gastrotomy by attaching it to a Prolene suture on a straight needle and directing the needle toward a chosen site. Although the authors prefer this method because it avoids potential esophageal injury, they sought a technique that would be even more precise in anvil placement and would avoid pushing a needle across gastric mucosa.
Methods: The authors have developed a method that is totally intra-abdominal and does not risk injury to the esophagus. The circular stapler is still used, thus giving a consistent, small opening through the gastrojejunal anastomosis.
Results: Over a 1-year period, 49 (of 50) patients underwent laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass with the described method. The average body mass index dropped from 42.63 to 34.12 over the first postoperative 3 months, with an average loss in excess body weight of 38.5%. The length of hospitalization following the procedure averaged 3.8 days, and the time to return to work (where applicable) was 11.9 days.
Conclusion: This totally intra-abdominal laparoscopic technique is feasible and advantageous.