, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 403-409
Date: 20 Nov 2009

Diagnosis and Management of Gastric Leaks After Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy for Morbid Obesity

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Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) is increasingly being recognised as a valid stand-alone procedure for the surgical management of morbid obesity. The leak rate from the gastric staple line ranges from 1.4% to 20%. From our experience of management of LSG leaks, we have been able to formulate an algorithm-based approach to the management of these patients.


All patients referred to our hospital within a 24-month period with a diagnosis of gastric staple line leak in the background of a previous LSG were included in the study. A retrospective case note review was undertaken for these patients and an algorithm formulated.


There were fourteen patients in the study. There were four males and ten females. Patients were managed with a combination of laparotomy, laparoscopy, endoscopic covered stenting, percutaneous radiologically guided drainage, jejunal enteric feeding and total parenteral nutrition. In five patients, re-look laparoscopy or laparotomy with washout and drainage was performed. The remaining eight patients were managed conservatively. There were no deaths.


Although it is often disappointing when LSG leaks do occur, with adherence to the basic tenets of the surgical management of enterocutaneous fistulae as well as early detection and a high index of suspicion, these complications can be successfully managed using an algorithm-based multi-disciplinary team approach.