Objective: To analyze long-term weight loss, changes in comorbidities and quality of life, and late complications after laparoscopic and open gastric bypass.
Summary background data: Early results from our prospective randomized trial comparing the outcome of laparoscopic versus open gastric bypass demonstrated less postoperative pain, shorter length of hospital stay, fewer wound-related complications, and faster convalescence for patients who underwent laparoscopic gastric bypass.
Methods: Between May 1999 and March 2001, 155 morbidly obese patients were enrolled in this prospective trial, in which 79 patients were randomized to laparoscopic gastric bypass and 76 to open gastric bypass. Two patients in the laparoscopic group required conversion to open surgery; their data were analyzed within the laparoscopic group on an intention-to-treat basis. The 2 groups were well matched for body mass index, age, and gender. Outcome evaluation included weight loss, changes in comorbidities and quality of life, and late complications.
Results: The mean follow-up was 39+/-8 months. There were no significant differences in the percent of excess body weight loss between the 2 groups at the 3-year follow-up (77% for laparoscopic versus 67% for open). The rate of improvement or resolution of comorbidities was similar between groups. Improvement in quality of life, measured by the Moorehead-Ardelt Quality of Life Questionnaire, was observed in both groups without significant differences between groups. Late complications were similar between groups except for the rate of incisional hernia, which was significantly greater after open gastric bypass (39% versus 5%, P<0.01), and the rate of cholecystectomy, which was greater after laparoscopic gastric bypass (28% versus 5%, P=0.03).
Conclusions: In this randomized trial with a 3-year follow-up, we found that laparoscopic gastric bypass was equally effective as open gastric bypass with respect to weight loss and improvement in comorbidities and quality of life. A major advantage at long-term follow-up for patients who underwent laparoscopic gastric bypass was the reduction in the rate of incisional hernia.