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Surg Endosc. 2013 Mar;27(3):808-16. doi: 10.1007/s00464-012-2517-8. Epub 2012 Oct 6.

Stent treatment for fistula after obesity surgery: results in 47 consecutive patients.

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Obesity Surgery Department, AZ St. Blasius Hospital, 50 Kroonveldlaan, 9200 Dendermonde, Belgium.



Leaks occurring after weight loss operations constitute a therapeutic challenge. There is no consensus as to what comprises state-of-the-art management of leaks after bariatric surgery. We sought to determine the efficacy and possible adverse effects of endoluminal stenting for leaks after bariatric surgery.


We report our experience with the stent treatment of consecutive bariatric patients with a leak (retrospective cohort study). Between October 2005 and July 2010, 47 patients presented an acute leak after a bariatric procedure (61 % primary procedures, 39 % revisions). Fifteen patients were initially approached laparoscopically, and 32 were treated by nonoperative techniques. After adequate drainage and resuscitation, all 47 patients were treated by the endoscopic placement of a partially covered metallic stent, and later of a plastic stent inside the metallic prosthesis to facilitate removal. Both stents were then ablated 1 week later. Primary outcome measurement concerned healing of the fistula, as evidenced by radiographic imaging. Secondary outcomes were length of hospital stay and occurrence of peri- and postprocedural complications.


There was no mortality. 41 patients (87.23 %) healed with stent treatment alone; 5 of the 6 persisting leaks healed with laparoscopic intervention (intention-to-treat success rate 96 %). Complication rate was 28.7 %. Length of hospital stay was mean ± standard deviation 22.4 ± 19.38 days for the patients treated by stent alone, and 23.4 ± 18.4 days for the patients requiring additional surgery (P = NS). One patient developed a stricture and required endoscopic dilation, and one is still awaiting surgical treatment.


Leaks after bariatric surgery can be treated safely and effectively by endoscopic stents. In cases of persisting leaks, laparoscopic intervention is successful in a majority of cases. Late strictures seldom occur.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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