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Multicenter Study
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Long-term outcome of laparoscopic Nissen, Toupet, and Thal antireflux procedures for neurologically normal children with gastroesophageal reflux disease.

BACKGROUND: Nissen fundoplication is the most popular laparoscopic operation for the management of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Partial fundoplications seem to be associated with a lower incidence of postoperative dysphagia, and thus a better quality of life for patients. The aim of this study was to compare the long-term outcome in neurologically normal children who underwent laparoscopic Nissen, Toupet, or Thal procedures in three European centers with a large experience in laparoscopic antireflux procedures.

METHODS: This study retrospectively analyzed the data of 300 consecutive patients with GERD who underwent laparoscopic surgery. The first 100 cases were recorded for each team, with the first team using the Toupet, the second team using the Thal, and the third team using the Nissen procedure. The only exclusion criteria for this study was neurologic impairment. For this reason, 66 neurologically impaired children (52 Thal, 10 Nissen, 4 Toupet) were excluded from the study. This evaluation focuses on the data for the remaining 238 neurologically normal children. The patients varied in age from 5 months to 16 years (median, 58 months). The median weight was 20 kg. All the children underwent a complete preoperative workup, and all had well-documented GERD. The position of the trocars and the dissection phase were similar in all the procedures, as was the posterior approximation of the crura. The short gastric vessels were divided in only six patients (2.5%). The only difference in the surgical procedures was the type of antireflux valve created.

RESULTS: The median duration of surgery was 70 min. There was no mortality and no conversion in this series. A total of 12 (5%) intraoperative complications (5 Nissen, 5 Toupet, 2 Thal) and 13 (5.4%) postoperative complications (3 Toupet, 4 Nissen, 6 Thal) were recorded. Only six (2.5%) redo procedures (2 Thal, 2 Toupet, 2 Nissen) were performed. After a minimum follow-up period of 5 years, all the children were free of symptoms except nine (3.7%), who sometimes still require medication. The incidence of complications and redo surgery for the three procedures analyzed with the Mann-Whitney U test are not statistically significant.

CONCLUSIONS: For pediatric patients with GERD, laparoscopic Nissen, Toupet, and Thal antireflux procedures yielded satisfactory results, and none of the approaches led to increased dysphagia. The 5% rate for intraoperative complications seems linked to the learning curve period. The authors consider the three procedures as extremely effective for the treatment of children with GERD, and they believe that the choice of one procedure over the other depends only on the surgeon's experience. Parental satisfaction with laparoscopic treatment was very high in all the three series.

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