Intraoperative leak test is associated with lower postoperative bleed rate in primary sleeve gastrectomy: a propensity matched analysis of primary and revision bariatric surgery using the MBSAQIP database



Gastrointestinal leaks after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) and sleeve gastrectomy (SG) occur infrequently but lead to clinical and socioeconomic burden on patients. Surgeons perform intraoperative leak test (IOLT) via gastric tube or endoscopy to help prevent postoperative leaks. However, there is knowledge gap in the literature on effectiveness of IOLT during bariatric surgery.


In this observational cohort study using the 2015–2017 MBSAQIP database, we compared the outcomes in patients who received IOLT with those who did not during primary or revision RYGB and SG. The primary outcome was 30-day postoperative leak. Secondary outcomes were procedure duration and the rates of 30-day postoperative bleed, readmission, reoperation and intervention. Propensity score matching was used to assemble cohorts of patients with similar baseline characteristics.


Among 363,042 patients, 82% underwent IOLT. Four subgroups of patients who underwent operations with or without IOLT during primary RYGB (n = 13,756), primary SG (n = 110,810), revision RYGB (n = 1140), and revision SG (n = 5576) had similar propensity scores and were matched 1:1. Patients who underwent IOLT had similar postoperative leak rates compared to those who did not (Primary RYGB with IOLT 0.7% v. without IOLT 0.6%; Primary SG 0.4% v. 0.3%; Revision RYGB 2.3% v. 1.0%; Revision SG 1.1% v. 0.7%). In primary SG subgroup, patients who underwent IOLT had lower postoperative bleed rates (0.6% v. 0.8%, p = 0.002). In primary RYGB and SG subgroups, operations with IOLT were slightly longer.


Postoperative leak rates after primary and revision bariatric surgery were low and similar irrespective of IOLT. Patients who had IOLT during primary SG had lower postoperative bleed rates. Current judgment as to whether to perform an IOLT leads to excellent outcomes, and thus, current practices should continue. However, one should consider an IOLT during primary SG, not necessarily to reduce leak rates but to help reduce postoperative bleeding occurrences.

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Correspondence to James J. Jung.

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Dr. Jung reports past consulting fees from Surgical Safety Technologies Inc. outside of the submitted work. Dr. Hutter reports consulting fees from Vicarious Surgical and travel grants from, but not for speaking on behalf of, Olympus, Medtronic, and Ethicon, outside of the submitted work. Drs. Jackson and Gordon have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Jung, J.J., Jackson, T., Gordon, L. et al. Intraoperative leak test is associated with lower postoperative bleed rate in primary sleeve gastrectomy: a propensity matched analysis of primary and revision bariatric surgery using the MBSAQIP database. Surg Endosc (2021).

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  • Bariatric surgery
  • Revision bariatric surgery
  • Leak test
  • Outcomes
  • Bleeding
  • Anastomotic leak
  • Process measures
  • Propensity score