Septotomy and Balloon Dilation to Treat Chronic Leak After Sleeve Gastrectomy: Technical Principles

  • 771 Accesses

  • 16 Citations



Chronic leaks after laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) are often difficult to treat by endoscopy metallic stent. Septotomy has been indicated as an effective procedure, but the technical aspects have not been detailed in previous publications (Campos JM, Siqueira LT, Ferraz AA, et al., J Am Coll Surg 204(4):711, 2007; Baretta G, Campos J, Correia S, et al., Surg Endosc 29(7):1714–20, 2015; Campos JM, Pereira EF, Evangelista LF, et al., Obes Surg 21(10):1520–9, 2011). We herein present a video (6 min) demonstrating the maneuver principles of this technique, showing it as a safe and feasible approach.


A 32-year-old male, with BMI 43.4 kg/m2, underwent LSG. On the tenth POD, he presented with a leak and initially was managed with the following approach: laparoscopic exploration, drainage, endoclips, and 20-mm balloon dilation. However, the leak remained for a period of 6 months. On the endoscopy, a septum was identified between the leak site and gastric pouch, so it was decided to “reshape” this area by septotomy.

Septotomy procedure: Sequential incisions were performed using argon plasma coagulation (APC) with 2.5 flow and 50 W (WEM, SP, Brazil) over the septum in order to allow communication between the perigastric cavity (leak site) and the gastric lumen. The principles below must be followed:

  1. (1)

    Scope position: the endoscopist’s left hand holds the control body of the gastroscope while the right hand holds the insertion tube; the APC catheter has no need to be fixed. This avoids movements and unprogrammed maneuvers.

  2. (2)

    Before cutting, the septum is placed in the six o’clock position on the endoscopic view, by rotating the gastroscope.

  3. (3)

    The septum is sectioned until the bottom of the perigastric cavity (leak site).

  4. (4)

    That section is made towards the staple line.

  5. (5)

    Just after the septotomy, a Savory-Gilliard guidewire (Cook Medical, Indiana, USA) through the scope must be inserted until the duodenum, followed by 30-mm balloon (Rigiflex®, Boston Scientific, MA, USA) insertion. The balloon catheter must be firmly held during gradual inflation (maximum 10 psi) to avoid slippage and laceration. This allows increasing the gastric lumen.

  6. (6)

    Septotomy by electrocautery with a needle knife (Boston Scientific, MA, USA) can be made when an intensive fibrotic septum is present; bleeding is rare in this case.

In this case, the endoclip previously used was removed from the septum with forceps to avoid heat transmission. Small staples visualized in the fistula orifice were not completely removed due to technical difficulties and friable tissue.


Two sessions were performed in 15 days, resulting in leak closure. The patient was submitted to radiological control 1 week after the second session, which revealed fistula healing, without gastric stenosis. The nasoduodenal feeding tube remained for 7 days, when the patient started oral diet. This patient was followed for 18 months without recurrence.


Septotomy and balloon dilation were initially performed on a difficult-to-treat chronic fistula after gastric bypass and named before as stricturotomy (Campos JM, Siqueira LT, Ferraz AA, et al., J Am Coll Surg 204(4):711, 2007). This procedure allows internal drainage of the fistula and deviates oral intake to the pouch. In addition, achalasia balloon dilation treats strictures and axis deviation of the gastric chamber, promoting reduction of the intragastric pressure. Septotomy and balloon dilation are technically feasible and might be useful in selected cases for closure of chronic leaks after LSG.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Access options

Buy single article

Instant unlimited access to the full article PDF.

US$ 39.95

Price includes VAT for USA

Subscribe to journal

Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.

US$ 99

This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.


  1. 1.

    Campos JM, Siqueira LT, Ferraz AA, et al. Gastrobronchial fistula after obesity surgery. J Am Coll Surg. 2007;204(4):711.

  2. 2.

    Baretta G, Campos J, Correia S, et al. Bariatric postoperative fistula: a life-saving endoscopic procedure. Surg Endosc. 2015;29(7):1714–20. doi:10.1007/s00464-014-3869-z.

  3. 3.

    Campos JM, Pereira EF, Evangelista LF, et al. Gastrobronchial fistula after sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass: endoscopic management and prevention. Obes Surg. 2011;21(10):1520–9. doi:10.1007/s11695-011-0444-8.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Josemberg Marins Campos.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Statement of Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from the individual participant included in the study.

Electronic Supplementary Material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

(MP4 50878 kb)


(MP4 50878 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Campos, J.M., Ferreira, F.C., Teixeira, A.F. et al. Septotomy and Balloon Dilation to Treat Chronic Leak After Sleeve Gastrectomy: Technical Principles. OBES SURG 26, 1992–1993 (2016) doi:10.1007/s11695-016-2256-3

Download citation


  • Sleeve gastrectomy
  • Fistula
  • Chronic leak
  • Septotomy
  • Achalasia balloon dilation
  • Gastrointestinal endoscopy
  • Bariatric endoscopy