Background: Over the last decade, laparoscopic gastric bypass (LGBP) has been proven to be a safe and well-tolerated approach to the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, despite its increased cost when compared to the open approach (OGBP). This increased expense has led many to question whether LGBP is a cost effective alternative to OGBP. The aim of this study is to determine which approach is most cost effective, considering costs associated with the operation itself, perioperative complications, and income lost during convalescence.
Methods: A PubMed search of the National Library of Medicine online journal database was conducted. Studies that met predetermined criteria for selection were included in the analyses of patient demographics, perioperative complications, length of hospital stay, excess weight loss, and time to recovery. Data on 6,425 OGBP and 5,867 LGBP patients were used to compare the outcomes associated with each approach.
Results: Significant differences were found in the perioperative complication profiles, time to recovery, and overall expense of the two approaches. OGBP was associated with an increased incidence of major perioperative complications, especially extraintestinal complications, and greater perioperative mortality. LGBP was associated with shorter hospital stays, increased incidence of intestinal complications, and a 2.25% incidence of conversion to OGBP. Patient demographics and percent excess weight loss (%EWL) at 3 years follow-up were found to be similar with both OGBP and LGBP.
Conclusion: LGBP is a cost effective alternative to OGBP for surgical weight loss. Despite the increased cost of LGBP, patients suffer fewer expensive and lifethreatening perioperative complications.