Internal hernia: postoperative complication of roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery

Aaron Eckhauser, Alfonso Torquati, Yassar Youssef, Joan L Kaiser, William O Richards
American Surgeon 2006, 72 (7): 581-4; discussion 584-5
Obesity surgery is becoming one of the most common general surgery procedures done in the United States. Internal hernias are a known and increasingly more common occurrence after laparoscopic roux-en-Y gastric bypass (LRYGB). Increased clinical awareness of this complication will lead to decreased surgical morbidity and mortality. We retrospectively reviewed our database of 529 patients who had undergone LRYGB from 2000 to 2005 and identified those presenting with intestinal obstruction from an internal hernia. The type of internal hernia (jejunojejunostomy, transverse mesocolon, roux limb mesentery [Peterson's hernia]), length of time from presentation to operative intervention, and length of stay were obtained for all patients. Of 529 laparoscopic retrocolic retrogastric LRYGBs, 13 internal hernias (2.5%) were identified in 13 different patients. Eight of the hernias were at the mesenteric defect created by the jejunojejunostomy (62%), 3 originated from the transverse mesocolon defect (23%), and 2 were a Peterson's hernia (15%). The median time from initial operation to repair was 150 days. The average time from presentation to operative repair was 29.2 hours (range, 5-67.5 hours). The median length of stay was 3 days (range, 1.5-45 days). Eleven hernias were repaired laparoscopically (85%). There were no mortalities associated with obstruction from the internal hernia. Intestinal obstruction from an internal hernia after LRYGB is becoming increasingly more common. General awareness of this condition and high clinical suspicion allow for prompt surgical intervention with decreased morbidity and mortality.

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