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Surg Endosc. 2009 Mar;23(3):659-62. doi: 10.1007/s00464-008-0075-x. Epub 2008 Sep 19.

A new and standardized approach for trocar placement in laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.



Super-morbidly obese patients undergoing laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (LRYGB) present unique technical challenges. In our experience the ease of the operation and the operative time seem to be more dependent on body habitus than body mass index (BMI). We hypothesized that the distance between the xyphoid process and the umbilicus (the XU distance) correlated with surgical difficulty and described an original modification of trocar placement based on this measurement to improve the ease of the operation.


Seven hundred and seventy-four patients underwent LRYGB, and the XU distance was measured in a subset of 38 patients midway through the experience. The need for additional trocars was assessed intraoperatively and the relationship between the XU distance and the need for extra trocars was subsequently analyzed. A standardized approach for trocar placement was implemented in the second half of our series. The operative time was compared between the standardized and nonstandardized groups.


Fifty percent of the patients required a five-trocar technique. Median XU distance in this group was 21.4 cm (range 17-25 cm). In the remaining 19 patients additional trocars were added; median XU distance was 27.3 cm (range 24-33 cm). From the 774 patients included in the study period, the operative time for the first 322 patients who were completed with a nonstandardized trocar approach was significantly longer than the subsequent 452 cases in which the standardized trocar approach was used (210 versus 173 min, p < 0.001).


We define XU distance as the key element in determining the choice of trocar placement. When XU distance is less then 25 cm, the basic approach should be used and if it is greater than 25 cm, the advanced trocar approach is recommended. This standardized technique leads to decreased operative time and improved ease of operation.

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