Background: To date, few studies have examined the effect of morbid obesity on the outcome of laparoscopic antireflux surgery and results have been conflicting. The aim of this work was to study the outcome of laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication (LNF) in patients with body mass index (BMI) >or= 35.
Methods: We prospectively followed 70 patients (15 men, 55 women) with a proven diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and a mean BMI of 38.4 +/- 0.5 (range, 35-51) who underwent LNF. All patients underwent 24-h pH study, esophageal manometry, upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy, and GERD symptom score before and 6 months after LNF. Surgical outcomes were compared to those of 70 sequential nonobese patients (BMI < 30) who also underwent LNF.
Results: LNF was completed laparoscopically in 69 of 70 patients in the morbidly obese (MO) group and in all 70 patients in the normal-weight (NW) group. The mean operative time for the MO group was not significantly longer than that for the NW group (55.9 +/- 2.3 min vs 50.0 +/- 2.1 min), but the mean length of stay was significantly longer (3.17 +/- 0.2 days vs 2.2 +/- 0.1 days, p < 0.0001) in the MO group. There was one postoperative complication (a transhiatal herniation of the stomach) in the morbidly obese group. In both patient groups, LNF resulted in a significant increase in lower esophageal sphincter (LES) pressures. This was associated with a significant decrease in percent acid reflux in 24-h testing and a significant improvement in GERD symptom score in both groups, although patients in the MO group had a significantly higher mean reflux symptom score after surgery than did those in the NW group. After a mean follow-up of 41.6 +/- 2.9 months, one patient in the MO group required reoperation and one proton pump inhibitor therapy (PRN PPI), as required.
Conclusions: Morbid obesity does not adversely affect the outcome of LNF. The conversion rate is low when performed by an experienced surgeon.