Background: Internal hernias (IH) after laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (LRYGB) have been reported with an incidence of 11 %. IH can lead to bowel incarceration and potentially bowel necrosis. The aim of this study was to analyze reoperations and intraoperative findings in a cohort of patients with unclosed mesenteric defects.
Methods: From a prospective database of patients with LRYGB, we selected as primary cohort patients with non-closure of mesenteric defects and abdominal reoperation for analysis. The data included pre-, intra- and post-operative findings, computed tomogram results and laboratory test results. This group underwent a very very long limb LRYGB, at that time the institutional standard technique. Additionally, a more recently operated cohort with primary closure of mesenteric defects was also analyzed.
Results: We identified 146 patients with primary non-closure and reoperation, mean age of 43.8 years. The main indication for reoperation was unclear abdominal pain in 119 patients with 27 patients undergoing a reoperation for other reasons (weight regain, prophylactic surgical inspection of mesenteric defects). Median time and mean excess weight loss from RYGB to reoperation were 41.1 months and 62.7 %, respectively. The incidence of IH was 14.4 %, with all patients with an IH being symptomatic. Conversion rate from laparoscopic to open surgery was 5.5 %, mortality 0.7 % and morbidity 3.4 %. Thirty-one patients underwent a second re-look laparoscopy. Eleven patients had recurrent open mesenteric defects. Three hundred and sixteen patients who underwent primary closure of the mesenteric defects had a reoperation rate of 13.6 % and an IH rate of 0.6 %.
Conclusion: The incidence of IH in patients without closure of mesenteric defects and reoperation is high and substantially higher compared to patients with primary closure of mesenteric defects. Patients with or without closure of mesenteric defects following LRYGB with acute, chronic or recurrent pain should be referred to a bariatric surgeon for diagnostic laparoscopy.
Keywords: Bariatric surgery; Internal hernia; Mesenteric defects; Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.