Background: The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGBP) is one of the most common operations for morbid obesity. Laparoscopic techniques have been reported, but suffer from small numbers of patients, longer operative times and seemingly higher initial complication rates as compared to the traditional "open" procedure. The minimally invasive approach continues to be a challenge even to the most experienced laparoscopic surgeons. The purpose of this study is to describe our experience and complications of the laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass with a totally hand-sewn gastrojejunostomy.
Methods: 1,040 consecutive laparoscopic procedures were evaluated prospectively. Only patients who had a previous open gastric procedure were excluded initially. Eventually, even patients with failed "open" bariatric procedures and other gastric procedures were revised laparoscopically to the RYGBP. All patients met NIH criteria for consideration for weight reductive surgery.
Results: There were no anastomotic leaks from the hand-sewn gastrojejunostomy. Early complications and open conversions were related to sub-optimal exposure and bowel fixation techniques. Several staple failures were attributed to a manufacturer redesign of an instrument. Average hospital stay was 1.9 days for all patients and 1.5 days for patients without complications. Operative times consistently approach 60 minutes. Average excess weight loss was 70% at 12 months. There were 5 deaths: perioperative pulmonary embolism (1), late pulmonary embolism (2), asthma (1), and suicide (1).
Conclusions: The laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass for morbid obesity with a totally hand-sewn gastrojejunostomy can be safely performed by the bariatric surgeon with advanced laparoscopic skills in the community setting. Fixation and closure of all potential hernia sites with non-absorbable sutures is essential. Stenosis of the hand-sewn gastrojejunal anastomosis is amenable to endoscopic balloon dilation. Meticulous attention must be paid to the operative and perioperative care of the patient.