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The effect of laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy on the antireflux mechanism: can it be minimized?



Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) is a promising procedure for the treatment of morbid obesity. The stomach is usually transected near the angle of His; hence, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) may be affected with consequences on postoperative gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of LSG on the LES and postoperative GERD.


Severely obese asymptomatic patients submitted to LSG underwent esophageal manometry and GERD evaluation preoperatively and at least 6 weeks postoperatively. Data reviewed included patient demographics, manometric measurements, GERD symptoms, and pathology. Statistical analysis was performed by SPSS software.


Twelve male and eleven female patients participated in the study. Mean age was 38.5 ± 10.9 years, and initial body mass index was 47.9 ± 5.1 kg/m2. At follow-up examination, mean excess body mass index loss was 32.3 ± 12.7 %. The LES total and abdominal length increased significantly postoperatively, whereas the contraction amplitude in the lower esophagus decreased. There was an increase in reflux symptoms postoperatively (p < 0.009). The operating surgeon who mostly approximated the angle of His resulted in an increased abdominal LES length (p < 0.01). The presence of esophageal tissue in the specimen correlated with increased total GERD score (p < 0.05).


LSG weakens the contraction amplitude of the lower esophagus, which may contribute to postoperative reflux deterioration. It also increases the total and the abdominal length of the LES, especially when the angle of His is mostly approximated. However, if this approximation leads to esophageal tissue excision, reflux is again aggravated. Thus, stapling too close to the angle of His should be done cautiously.

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Drs. E. Kleidi, D. Theodorou, K. Albanopoulos, E. Menenakos, MA. Karvelis, J. Papailiou, K. Stamou, G. Zografos, S. Katsaragakis, and E. Leandros have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Correspondence to Eleftheria Kleidi.

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Kleidi, E., Theodorou, D., Albanopoulos, K. et al. The effect of laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy on the antireflux mechanism: can it be minimized?. Surg Endosc 27, 4625–4630 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00464-013-3083-4

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  • Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Lower esophageal sphincter
  • Manometry