Background: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is considered the main etiologic process in the metaplastic development of Barrett's esophagus (BE). The most serious complication of BE is the possible dysplastic evolution to esophageal carcinoma. Many treatments have been described to prevent the progression of BE. The outcomes of these interventions are controversial. The aim of this study was to assess whether laparoscopic fundoplication for GERD had an impact on the development of BE.
Methods: Prospective data were collected from patients who were treated with a laparoscopic fundoplication for BE. Data was collected and analyzed for a variety of clinical and pathologic outcomes.
Results: Laparoscopic fundoplications were completed between 1993 and 2001, with a total sample size of 92 (mean age 53 +/- 11.8 years). Each patient was diagnosed with GERD associated with BE confirmed by both endoscopy and biopsy. A laparoscopic fundoplication was performed in all patients (360 degree fundoplication in 81 patients and partial fundoplication in 11 patients). There was no postoperative mortality or major complications from the procedure. The mean postoperative stay was 3 +/- 1 days. Seventy patients (76% of the overall sample size) were followed up for a mean 4.2 +/- 2.6 years. Of the patients available for follow-up, 33% (n = 23) had a complete regression of their BE; 21% (n = 15) had a decrease in the degree of metaplasia/dysplasia; 39% (n = 27) had no significant change; and 7% (n = 5) experienced a progression of the BE. Five patients required further procedures for three reasons: (1) GERD recurrence (n = 2), (2) progression of BE (n = 2), and (3) intrathoracic migration (n = 1). No patients developed high-grade dysplasia or esophageal carcinoma.
Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that laparoscopic fundoplication offers a safe and effective long-term treatment for BE. The procedure also demonstrated regression of BE in more than 50% of the sample size.