, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 1537-1545

Causes of dissatisfaction after laparoscopic fundoplication: the impact of new symptoms, recurrent symptoms, and the patient experience

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Abstract

Background

Although laparoscopic fundoplication effectively alleviates gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in the great majority of patients, some patients remain dissatisfied after the operation. This study was undertaken to report the outcomes of these patients and to determine the causes of dissatisfaction after laparoscopic fundoplication.

Methods

All patients undergoing laparoscopic fundoplication in the authors’ series from 1992 to 2010 were evaluated for frequency and severity of symptoms before and after laparoscopic fundoplication, and their experiences were graded from “very satisfying” to “very unsatisfying.” Objective outcomes were determined by endoscopy, barium swallow, and pH monitoring. Primary complaints were derived from postoperative surveys. Median data are reported.

Results

Of the 1,063 patients undergoing laparoscopic fundoplication, 101 patients reported dissatisfaction after the procedure. The follow-up period was 33 months. The dissatisfied patients (n = 101) were more likely than the satisfied patients to have postoperative complications (9 vs 4 %; p < 0.05) and to have undergone a prior fundoplication (22 vs 11 %; p < 0.05). For the dissatisfied patients, heartburn decreased in frequency and severity after fundoplication (p < 0.05) but remained notable. Also for the dissatisfied patients, new symptoms (gas bloat/dysphagia) were the most prominent postoperative complaint (59 %), followed by symptom recurrence (23 %), symptom persistence (4 %), and the overall experience (14 %). Primary complaints of new symptoms were most common within the first year of follow-up assessment and less frequent thereafter. Primary complaints of recurrent symptoms generally occurred more than 1 year after fundoplication.

Conclusions

Dissatisfaction is uncommon after laparoscopic fundoplication. New symptoms, such as dysphagia and gas/bloating, are primary causes of dissatisfaction despite general reflux alleviation among these patients. New symptoms occur sooner after fundoplication than recurrent symptoms and may become less common with time.

Presented in part at the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX, March 2011.