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, 13 (5), 758-765

Value of Routine Upper Gastrointestinal Swallow Study After Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy


Value of Routine Upper Gastrointestinal Swallow Study After Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy

Cyril Chivot et al. Surg Obes Relat Dis.


Background: Gastric leak (GL) is one of the main early-onset postoperative complications of sleeve gastrectomy (SG). Many institutions perform routine upper gastrointestinal (UGI) contrast studies within 24 hours of surgery, looking for GL or gastric stenosis and to determine the need for urgent re-exploration, but this examination delays oral feeding, can cause side effects and is responsible for systematic and probably unnecessary irradiation of the patient.

Objective: Determine the efficacy of routine UGI contrast studies to predict postoperative complications after SG in a large population.

Setting: University hospital, France, public practice.

Material and methods: This study consisted of retrospective review of a prospective database of a cohort of patients who underwent primary SG between January 2007 and August 2013 (n = 1137). Routine UGI contrast studies, performed on postoperative day 1, were independently reviewed by 2 radiologists. The primary endpoint of the study was the effect of routine UGI contrast study on detecting postoperative complications. The secondary endpoints were comparison of the findings of routine UGI contrast study and abdominal computed tomography (CT) scan, sensitivity, and specificity of different imaging signs on abdominal CT scan in the presence of GL, evaluation of the SG learning curve based on the findings of routine UGI contrast studies.

Results: A total of 1137 patients underwent primary SG and 30 GL (2.6%) with a mean time to diagnosis of 23.4 days (1-245) and 15 cases of gastric stenosis (1.3%) were observed during the study period. Routine UGI study was performed in 1108 patients, whereas 29 patients were assessed by first-line CT scan. None of the 1108 UGI studies found a GL or gastric stenosis. In the 30 cases of GL, the most sensitive and specific sign was the presence of perigastric abscess without contrast material leak (sensitivity: 56.6%; specificity: 95%). The mean time interval between routine postoperative UGI contrast study and abdominal CT scan was 12.9 days (0-86). Uniform gastric shape was acquired after 30-32 SG procedures.

Conclusion: Routine postoperative UGI on postoperative day 1 is of limited value after SG. Abdominal CT scan should be preferred in the presence of clinical suspicion of postoperative complications. Selective UGI contrast study remains indicated when gastric stenosis is suspected and at the beginning of the SG learning curve.

Keywords: Bariatric surgery; Complications; Gastric leak; Sleeve gastrectomy; Upper gastrointestinal contrast studies.

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