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Multicenter Study
. 2017 Apr;13(4):560-567.
doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2016.11.027. Epub 2016 Dec 10.

Evaluating the Effect of Operative Technique on Leaks After Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy: A Case-Control Study

Multicenter Study

Evaluating the Effect of Operative Technique on Leaks After Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy: A Case-Control Study

Oliver A Varban et al. Surg Obes Relat Dis. .


Objective: To assess the effect of operative technique on staple line leaks after laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG).

Background: Staple-line leaks after LSG are a major source of morbidity and mortality. Variations in operative technique exist; however, their effect on leaks is poorly understood.

Methods: We analyzed data from the Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative (MBSC) to perform a case-control study comparing patients who had a clinically significant leak after undergoing a primary LSG to those who did not. A total of 45 patients with leaks were identified between January 2007 and December 2013. The leak group was matched 1:2 to a control group based on procedure type, age, body mass index, sex, and year the procedure was performed. Technique-specific factors were assessed by reviewing operative notes from all primary bariatric procedures in our study population. Conditional logistic regression was used to identify techniques associated with leaks. To increase the power of our analysis, we used a significance level of .10.

Results: Leak rates with LSG have decreased over the past 5 years (1.18% to .36%) as annual case volume has increased (846 cases/yr to 4435 cases/yr). Surgeons who performed 43 or more cases per year had a leak rate<1%. Leaks were more common among cases requiring a blood transfusion (26.2% versus 1.08%, P = .0031) and when cases were converted to open surgery (7.14% versus 0%, P = .0741). However, there was no significant difference in operative time between cases involving a leak and their matched controls (95.4 min versus 87.1 min, P = .1197). Oversewing of the staple line was the only technique associated with less leaks after controlling for confounding factors (OR .397 CI .174, .909, P = .0665). Notably, surgeons who oversewed routinely were also found to have higher case volume (307 versus 140, P = .0216) and less overall complication rates (4.81% versus 7.95%, P = .0027). Furthermore, oversewing technique varied widely as only 22.6% of cases involved oversewing of the entire staple line.

Conclusion: Despite considerable variation in operative technique, leak rates with laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy have decreased over time as operative volume has increased. Oversewing of the staple line was associated with fewer leaks, but specific suturing technique was not uniform and oversewing was performed routinely by more experienced surgeons with higher case volumes and less complication rates overall. Before standardizing surgical technique one must take into account variations in surgeon skill and experience.

Keywords: Bariatric surgery; Buttressing reinforcement; Complications; Outcomes; Skill; Sleeve gastrectomy; Technique.

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