Background/aims: The aim of this retrospective study was to report and quantify the immediate and 3-year complications after laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery in order to understand the mechanism.
Methodology: From 1992 to 1996, 1470 laparoscopic fundoplications were performed for symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux disease. Preoperative checkup included upper gastrointestinal tract endoscopy in 1437 patients (97.7%), esophageal manometry in 934 patients (63.5%), and 24-hour pHmetry in 799 patients (54.3%). Three procedures were performed: Nissen (n = 655), Nissen-Rossetti (n = 423), and Toupet (n = 392). The results were estimated at 1 and 3 months; thereafter they were evaluated at 3 years. Patients unable to return to the hospital center were contacted by telephone.
Results: Mean length of hospital stay was 4.6 days (range: 2-48 days). The preoperative complication rate was 2.1% (n = 31). The postoperative morbidity and mortality rates were 2.9% (43 patients) and 0.07% (1 patient), respectively. Conversion rate to laparotomy was 6.5% (96 patients). At 3 months, 87 patients (5.9%) had invalid dysphagia but there was no difference between the 3 procedures. Twelve patients have been reoperated (0.8%). At 3 years, 78 patients (5.6%) presented a clinical recurrence. The rate of dysphagia was 0.35%, and 38 patients were reoperated.
Conclusions: Laparoscopic fundoplication is safe and effective with a low morbidity and mortality rate if junior surgeons commenced this procedure under the direct supervision of an experienced surgeon. Despite the advantage of this technique, we believe that indications for surgical management remain unchanged in the laparoscopic era.