Endoscopic therapies for leaks and fistulas after bariatric surgery

Surg Innov. 2014 Feb;21(1):90-7. doi: 10.1177/1553350613497270. Epub 2013 Aug 26.


Bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for the medical comorbidities associated with morbid obesity. Though uncommon, staple line or anastomotic leaks after bariatric surgery are highly morbid events and challenging to treat. In selected patients without severe sepsis or distant pollution, endoscopic transluminal peritoneal drainage may provide source control. For leaks within 3 days of surgery, endoscopic stenting does not appear to speed closure but does permit oral nutrition. In uncomplicated situations, the risk of migration and resulting complications of enteric stents appear to overshadow the benefits. Initial treatment failures and leaks presenting more than 48 hours after surgery respond to enteric diversion by endoscopic stenting. Occlusion of the leak by injection of fibrin glue also shows promise; however, these case series are limited to a small number of patients. Endoclips may work best to occlude leaks and close fistulas if the epithelium is debrided. As suturing technology improves, direct internal closure of fistulas may prove feasible. Therapeutic endoscopy offers several technologies that can assist in the closure of early leaks and that are essential to the treatment of late leaks and fistulas after bariatric surgery.

Keywords: esophageal surgery; flexible endoscopy; gastric surgery; interventional endoscopy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anastomotic Leak / surgery*
  • Bariatric Surgery*
  • Endoscopy / methods*
  • Fistula / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery*
  • Stents
  • Surgical Instruments
  • Suture Techniques
  • Tissue Adhesives


  • Tissue Adhesives