Marginal ulcer is a common complication following Roux-en-Y gastric bypass with incidence rates between 1 and 16%. Most marginal ulcers resolve with medical management and lifestyle changes, but in the rare case of a non-healing marginal ulcer there are few treatment options. Revision of the gastrojejunal (GJ) anastomosis carries significant morbidity with complication rates ranging from 10 to 50%. Thoracoscopic truncal vagotomy (TTV) may be a safer alternative with decreased operative times. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of TTV in comparison to GJ revision for treatment of recalcitrant marginal ulcers.
A retrospective chart review of patients who required surgical intervention for non-healing marginal ulcers was performed from 1 September 2012 to 1 September 2017. All underwent medical therapy along with lifestyle changes prior to intervention and had preoperative EGD that demonstrated a recalcitrant marginal ulcer. Revision of the GJ anastomosis or TTV was performed. Data collected included operative time, ulcer recurrence, morbidity rate, and mortality rate.
Twenty patients were identified who underwent either GJ revision (n = 13) or TTV (n = 7). There were no 30-day mortalities in either group. Mean operative time was significantly lower in the TTV group in comparison to GJ revision (95.7 ± 16 vs. 227.5 ± 89 min, respectively, p = 0.0022). Recurrence of ulcer was not significant between groups and occurred following two GJ revisions (15%) and one TTV (14%). Complication rates were not significantly different with 62% in the GJ revision group and 57% in the TTV group. Approximately 38% (5/13) of GJ revisions and 28% (2/7) of TTV patients experienced complications with Clavien–Dindo scores > 3. There was no difference in postoperative symptoms between both groups.
Our results demonstrate that thoracoscopic vagotomy may be a better alternative with decreased operative times and similar effectiveness. However, further prospective observational studies with a larger patient population would be beneficial to evaluate complication rates and ulcer recurrence rates between groups.
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