De novo gastroesophageal reflux disease after sleeve gastrectomy: role of preoperative silent reflux

Surg Endosc. 2019 Mar;33(3):789-793. doi: 10.1007/s00464-018-6344-4. Epub 2018 Jul 12.


Background: Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) has become the most frequently performed bariatric procedure to date. However, LSG is known to worsen pre-operative and result in de novo gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Pre-operative evaluation reveals a high percentage of silent GERD of so far unknown influence on post-operative GERD.

Methods: Prospective data of patients undergoing primary LSG between 01/2012 and 12/2015 were evaluated. Pre-operative GERD-specific evaluation consisted of validated questionnaires, upper endoscopy, 24 h-pH-manometry, and esophagograms. Patients were followed-up with questionnaires every 6 months, upper endoscopies after 1 year and 24 h-pH-metry after 2 years. Silent GERD was defined as esophagitis grade > B and/or abnormal esophageal acid exposure in absence of symptoms. LSG was performed over a 32F bougie, hiatal hernias > 1 cm were addressed with posterior hiatoplasty. Excluded were patients with hiatal hernias > 4 cm, patients with incorrect anatomy (stenosis, fundus too large) and conversion to RYGB for early leaks.

Results: 222 patients were included. Mean follow-up was 32 ± 16 months, mean preoperative body mass index 49.6 ± 7.2 kg/m2. 116 patients (52%) presented with post-operative GERD-symptoms, of which 85 (73%) had de novo symptoms. Of those, 48 (of 85, 56%) had no preoperative GERD and 37 (of 85, 44%) silent GERD. 57 patients (26%) had neither pre- nor post-operative GERD, 7 (3%) had silent pre-operative and no postop GERD, and in 19 patients (9%) GERD was cured with LSG. 31 patients (14%) stayed symptomatic. Of 56 patients (25%) with pre-operative silent GERD, 37 (of 54, 66%) became symptomatic.

Conclusion: LSG leads to a considerable rate of post-operative GERD. De novo-GERD consist of around half of pre-operative silent GERD and completely de novo-GERD. Most patients with pre-operative silent GERD became symptomatic.

Keywords: 24-h pH-monitoring; Asymptomatic diseases; Body mass index; Gastroesophageal reflux disease; Obesity; Sleeve gastrectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gastrectomy* / methods
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / diagnosis
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / epidemiology
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Morbid / complications
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Preoperative Period
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome