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Determinants of complications and adequacy of surgical resection in laparoscopic versus open total gastrectomy for adenocarcinoma

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The role of laparoscopic total gastrectomy (LTG) in the treatment of gastric cancer is controversial. The present study analyzed the morbidity and adequacy of resection in LTG versus open total gastrectomy (OTG) for gastric adenocarcinoma.


Between 2003 and 2006, clinical data of 38 consecutive patients who underwent LTG for gastric adenocarcinoma were collected prospectively. The same data-entry form was used for retrospective data collection from 22 consecutive patients who underwent OTG within the same time period. Logistic regression models were used in univariate and multivariate analyses to identify the optimally combined factors related to the occurrence of postoperative complications and to the number of harvested lymph nodes.


Postoperative complications occurred in 24 patients with subsequent mortality in two. Median (range) length of hospital stay was 11 (6–73) days and comparable after LTG versus OTG (p = 0.847). The occurrence of postoperative complications was related (p = 0.004) to the first year of surgery and patients’ medical condition before surgery [American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) physical status III]. Microscopic tumor-free margins were obtained in all but two patients. The number of harvested lymph nodes was 17 (0–90), and determined by tumor wall penetration (p = 0.001).


The occurrence of complications after total gastrectomy is determined by the patients’ medical condition before surgery and the surgical expertise, but not by the approach. LTG and OTG can result in adequate tumor-free resection margins and lymph node yield, which is related to the tumor wall penetration. The role of LTG in gastric cancer needs further evaluation in randomized controlled trials with large patient series.

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Correspondence to B. Topal.

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Topal, B., Leys, E., Ectors, N. et al. Determinants of complications and adequacy of surgical resection in laparoscopic versus open total gastrectomy for adenocarcinoma. Surg Endosc 22, 980–984 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00464-007-9549-5

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  • Cancer
  • Surgery
  • Stomach
  • Laparoscopy
  • Outcome