Conservative Management of Anastomotic Leaks after 557 Open Gastric Bypasses
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Background: One of the most serious complications after gastric bypass is an anastomotic leak. In a prospective surgical protocol for the management of this complication, the authors determined the incidence of anastomotic leaks Methods: From August 1999 to January 2005, 557 patients with morbid obesity were submitted to laparotomic resectional gastric bypass. In all patients a left drain was placed during surgery. All patients had a radiological study with liquid barium sulphate on the 5th postoperative day. After the occurrence of an anastomotic leak, the daily output of the leak was carefully measured. Results: 12 patients developed an anastomotic leak at the gastrojejunostomy. All were managed medically, with antibiotics if necessary, enteral or parenteral feeding and frequent control by imaging procedures. In 8 patients, the left drain was maintained in situ up to 43 days after surgery. In 4 patients, the drain had been removed between the 5th and 8th days after surgery after a normal radiologic study, but had to be inserted under radiological control 2-3 weeks after the gastric bypass. Daily output increased significantly the second week after surgery, and the leak closed at a mean of 30 days after surgery. One patient of the 12 (8%) died 32 days after surgery from septic shock, without any abdominal collection secondary to the leak. Conclusion: The occurrence of an anastomotic leak is nearly 2% after gastric bypass. The majority of them can be managed medically, without the need for a reoperation, due to the fact that there is no acid production in the small gastric pouch and there is no intestinal reflux due to the long Roux loop.
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