Marginal ulcer after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass: what have we really learned?

Surg Endosc. 2012 Oct;26(10):2789-96. doi: 10.1007/s00464-012-2280-x. Epub 2012 Apr 28.


Background: The definition of marginal ulcer after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) is widely debated. This study reviewed findings of upper endoscopy in symptomatic patients at a quaternary bariatric referral center. Further investigation included symptom constellation, potential etiologies, and efficacy of treatment for patients found to have marginal ulcer.

Methods: Patients presenting for upper gastrointestinal endoscopy after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass were included in this study. An institutional review board-approved database was queried for the period 1 June 2010 to 31 August 2011. Subgroup analysis was performed for patients with marginal ulcer. Statistical analysis was performed using PASW version 18 for Windows.

Results: During the study period, 455 upper gastrointestinal endoscopies were performed for 328 consecutive symptomatic patients. Marginal ulcer, found in 112 patients (34 %), was diagnosed for 59 of the patients (53 %) within 12 months after surgery and for 53 of the patients (47 %) more than 12 months after surgery. In patients found to have marginal ulcer, the most common presenting symptoms were pain, dysphagia, nausea, and vomiting. All the patients with marginal ulcer underwent acid suppression and cytoprotective therapy. Using uni- and multivariate analyses for healing, nonhealing, and healing with recurrence, tobacco use was found to be the solitary significant risk factor for recurrence (p = 0.01).

Conclusion: Patients with pain or dysphagia after gastric bypass warrant upper endoscopy given the high yield for abnormalities. Although the risk factors for the development of marginal ulcer remain multifactorial, a thorough investigation for potential etiologies including tobacco, alcohol, and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) usage should be determined and eliminated. The presence of multiple risk factors may pose a higher challenge in ulcer resolution, leading to increased recurrence. In the current series, prior or current tobacco use remained the sole independent risk factor for ulcer persistence.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / epidemiology
  • Abdominal Pain / etiology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anastomosis, Surgical / adverse effects
  • Anastomosis, Surgical / classification
  • Anastomosis, Surgical / methods
  • Biopsy
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology
  • Female
  • Gastric Bypass / adverse effects*
  • Gastric Bypass / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nausea / etiology
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery
  • Peptic Ulcer / epidemiology*
  • Peptic Ulcer / etiology*
  • Peptic Ulcer / pathology
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Stomach / pathology
  • Vomiting / etiology
  • Young Adult