Small bowel obstruction after laparoscopic gastric bypass with nonclosure of mesenteric defects

Benjamin Clapp
JSLS: Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons 2015, 19 (1): e2014.00257

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: There is a wide variation of reported incidence of small bowel obstruction (SBO) after laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (LGB). There is also wide variation in technique, not only in placement of the Roux limb, but also regarding closure or nonclosure of the mesenteric defects. The objective of this study was to examine the incidence and characteristics of SBO after antecolic antegastric bypass with nonclosure of the mesenteric defect of the jejunojejunal anastomosis.

METHODS: This is a retrospective review of a series of consecutive LGBs over a 3-year period. All procedures were performed by the same surgeon using the same technique. In no case was the mesenteric defect closed. A prospectively maintained database was used for data collection. Patients who returned with an SBO were the study group, and those who underwent revisional bariatric surgery or conversion to open operation were excluded.

RESULTS: There were 249 primary LGBs performed during the study period; 15 of the operations were followed by SBO, for an incidence of 6.0%. Four cases were caused by an internal hernia (IH), for an incidence of 1.6%, and 11 were caused by adhesions, which accounted for 73% of the SBOs.

CONCLUSIONS: SBO after LGB is a relatively common complication. The incidence of SBO from IH with nonclosure of the mesenteric defect is similar to that in other series where the defect is closed. Regardless of the cause of the SBO, operative treatment of the patient who has a gastric bypass remains the definitive standard and should not be delayed.

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