Background: To assess the rates and causes of reoperations in a long-term follow-up of a cohort of morbidly obese patients treated by laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding.
Methods: A retrospective study was performed to evaluate a cohort of 498 consecutive patients who had undergone laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding since 1996. The first 50 patients were excluded to avoid the learning curve bias. A perigastric technique was used until 2002 (37% of patients) and was then rapidly replaced by a pars flaccida approach. The patients who underwent band removal or port reposition/removal were considered, respectively, as having required a major or minor reoperation.
Results: Of the 448 patients (83% women) followed up for an average of 3.2 +/- 2.2 years, 79 (mean age 37.7 years, mean body mass index 44.0 kg/m(2)) underwent repeat surgery between 1997 and 2006. Of these procedures, 29 were minor and 59 were major reoperations. Ten patients underwent band removal after a port complication developed. The main causes were pouch dilation (37%), insufficient weight loss (20%), erosion (20%), and psychological (15%). Ten patients underwent revisional surgery. A 13% incidence of major reoperations was observed for the entire group; the rate of major and minor reoperations was 4.1 and 2.1 interventions per 100 persons-years, respectively. In patients with follow-up >5 years (perigastric technique), the cumulative incidence reached 24%.
Conclusion: The need for a major reoperation appears to be substantial in patients who have undergone laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, particularly when the long-term follow-up data are considered, and can occur at any point after surgery. More severe obesity (body mass index >50 kg/m(2)) seems to carry a greater risk of reoperation. These findings highlight the need for lifelong multidisciplinary management and surveillance for these patients.