Objective: To determine the safety and efficacy of laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass for the treatment of morbid obesity.
Summary background data: Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is a new and technically challenging surgical procedure that requires careful study.
Methods: The authors attempted total laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass in 281 consecutive patients. Procedures included 175 proximal bypasses, 12 long-limb bypasses, and 9 revisional procedures from previous bariatric operations. The gastrojejunostomy and jejunojejunostomy were primarily constructed using linear stapling techniques.
Results: Eight patients required conversion to an open procedure (2.8%). The mean age of the patients was 41.6 years (range 15-71) and 87% were female. The mean preoperative body mass index was 48.1 kg/m2. The operative time decreased significantly from 234 +/- 77 minutes in the first quartile to 162 +/- 42 minutes in the most recent quartile. Postoperative length of stay averaged 4 days (range 2-91), with 75% of patients discharged within 3 days. The median hospital stay was 2 days. No patient died after surgery. Complications included three (1.5%) major wound infections (each followed a reoperation for a complication or open conversion), incisional hernia in 5 patients (1.8%), and anastomotic leak with peritonitis in 14 patients (5.1%). Three gastrojejunal leaks were managed without surgery, four by laparoscopic repair/drainage, and three by open repair/drainage. Only three patients had anastomotic leaks in the most recent 164 procedures (1.8%) since the routine use of a two-layer anastomotic technique. Data at 1 year after surgery were available in 69 of 96 (72%) patients (excludes revisions). Weight loss at one year was 70 +/- 5% of excess weight. Most comorbid conditions resolved by 1 year after surgery; notably, 88% of patients with diabetes no longer required medications.
Conclusions: Laparoscopic gastric bypass demonstrates excellent weight loss and resolution of comorbidities with a low complication rate. The learning curve is evident: operative time and leaks decreased with experience and improved techniques. The primary advantage is an extremely low risk of wound complications, including infection and hernia.