Background: Long-term complications leading to reoperation after primary bariatric surgery are not uncommon. Reoperations are particularly challenging because of tissue scarring and adhesions related to the first operation. Reoperations must address the complication(s) related to the scarring and, at the same time, prevent weight regain that would inevitably occur after simple reversal. Conversion to Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGBP) has repeatedly been demonstrated to be the procedure of choice in most situations. It has traditionally been performed through an open approach. Our aim is to describe our experience with the laparoscopic approach in reoperations to RYGBP over the past 5 years.
Methods: All patients undergoing laparoscopic RYGBP as a reoperation were included in this study. Patients with multiple previous operations or patients with band erosion after gastric banding were submitted to laparotomy. Data were collected prospectively.
Results: Between June 1999 and August 2004, 49 patients (44 women, 5 men) underwent laparoscopic reoperative RYGBP. The first operation was gastric banding in 32 and vertical banded gastroplasty in 15. The mean duration of the reoperation was 195 minutes. No conversion to open was necessary. Overall morbidity was 20%, with major complications in 2 patients (4%). Weight loss, or weight maintenance, was satisfactory, with a BMI <35 kg/m2 up to 4 years in close to 75% of the patients.
Conclusions: Laparoscopic RYGBP can be safely performed as a reoperation in selected patients provided that the surgical expertise is available. These procedures are clearly more difficult than primary operations, as reflected by the long operative time. Overall morbidity and mortality, however, are not different. Long-term results regarding weight loss or weight maintenance are highly satisfactory, and comparable to those obtained after laparoscopic RYGBP as a primary operation.