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Obes Surg. 2008 Jun;18(6):623-30. doi: 10.1007/s11695-007-9297-6. Epub 2008 Apr 8.

Management of anastomotic leaks after laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.

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Centro Laparosc├│pico de Barcelona, Centro M├ędico Teknon, Barcelona, Spain.



Anastomotic leaks after bariatric surgery carry high morbidity and mortality. We aimed to describe our experience of the diagnosis and management of gastrointestinal anastomotic leaks in patients undergoing laparoscopic gastric bypass in a single institution.


Of 1,200 patients who underwent laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass with manual gastrojejunal anastomosis for morbid obesity from January 2002 to January 2007, we retrospectively analyzed 59 patients with anastomotic leak. The location of the leak, day of diagnosis, diagnostic methods, clinical manifestations, treatment modalities, associated complications, and length of hospital stay were analyzed.


Leaks were located as follows: 67.8% in the gastrojejunostomy, 10.2% in the gastric pouch, 3.4% in the excluded stomach, 5.1% in the jejunojejunal anastomosis, 3.4% in the gastrojejunostomy plus pouch, 3.4% in the pouch plus excluded stomach, and 6.8% in undetermined sites. Routine upper gastrointestinal series revealed contrast extravasation in nine patients (15.3%). Leaks were asymptomatic at diagnosis in 29 patients (49.2%). Surgical reintervention was carried out in 23 patients, and conservative treatment was provided in the remaining 36. Transfer to the intensive care unit was required in 11 patients, with five deaths (0.4%).


In our experience, most anastomotic leaks can be managed with conservative measures alone. In many patients, abdominal drains are effective in the management of leaks, obviating the need for reintervention. Nasoenteral nutrition was effective in the non-operative management of gastrojejunal leaks in patients without signs of systemic toxicity.

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