Upper gastrointestinal series after sleeve gastrectomy is unnecessary to evaluate for gastric sleeve stenosis



There has been an increase in sleeve gastrectomy (SG) procedures being performed worldwide, and a paralleled rise in prevalence of gastric sleeve stenosis (GSS). Symptoms include dysphagia, reflux, and obstructive symptoms. Upper gastrointestinal series (UGIS) is commonly performed in the diagnostic algorithm prior to referral for endoscopic dilation; however, little is known about its utility in making a diagnosis. Our aim was to evaluate positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) of UGIS in detection of GSS.


We performed a retrospective analysis of a prospectively collected database at a tertiary center for patients referred with nausea/vomiting or obstructive symptoms following SG between 2017 and 2019. All patients underwent upper endoscopy (EGD) for evaluation of GSS. Serial balloon dilations were performed for GSS with increasing balloon size and/or filling pressure until symptom resolution or referral for surgical revision. Primary outcomes were PPV and NPV for UGIS in predicting GSS. Secondary outcomes included EGD findings and symptom response to dilation.


Thirty consecutive patients were included in the analyses. The most common presenting symptoms were nausea (66.7%), vomiting (60.0%) reflux (66.7%), and abdominal pain (54.8%). Twenty-two (73.3%) patients underwent UGIS prior to EGD. On diagnostic EGD, 27 (87.1%) patients were diagnosed with GSS. The sensitivity and NPV of UGIS to detect GSS was 30.0%, and 12.5%, respectively. All 6 patients with GSS on UGIS also had GSS on endoscopic evaluation (specificity = 100%, PPV = 100%). Twenty-six (86.6%) patients had resolution of symptoms with a mean 1.97 ± 1.13 dilations.


UGIS following SG has low NPV to evaluate for GSS. Independent of the UGIS findings, majority of patients found to have GSS on EGD had symptom improvement with dilations. The utility of UGIS is limited for diagnosing GSS and when suspicion for GSS is high, patients should be referred directly for EGD.

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Correspondence to Allison R. Schulman.

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Sean Bhalla and Jessica X. Yu: No conflict of interest. Oliver A. Varban: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan: salary support for leadership and participation in quality improvement initiatives. Allison R. Schulman: Apollo Endosurgery: consultant; Boston Scientific: consultant; and MicroTech: consultant.

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Bhalla, S., Yu, J.X., Varban, O.A. et al. Upper gastrointestinal series after sleeve gastrectomy is unnecessary to evaluate for gastric sleeve stenosis. Surg Endosc 35, 631–635 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00464-020-07426-6

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  • Gastric sleeve stenosis
  • Upper GI series
  • Dilation
  • Gastric sleeve