Comparison of objective outcomes following laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication versus laparoscopic gastric bypass in the morbidly obese with heartburn

  • E. J. PattersonEmail author
  • D. G. Davis
  • Y. Khajanchee
  • L. L. Swanström
Original article


Background: Heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) affects approximately 25–50% of morbidly obese patients. Although objective physiologic testing has been reported extensively in patients following Nissen fundoplication, there are no previous reports of such testing in morbidly obese patients. A life-saving surgical alternative for the morbidly obese patient is gastric bypass surgery, which usually improves heartburn symptoms in addition to many serious health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea. We hypothesized that, in morbidly obese patients, gastric bypass surgery would be as effective as Nissen fundoplication in reducing both heartburn symptoms and esophageal acid exposure, as reflected by the DeMeester score. Methods: Between 1995 and 2000, all patients undergoing laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication (LN) and laparoscopic gastric bypass (LGB) in our practice underwent preoperative and postoperative esophageal physiologic testing. Patients were included in this study that were morbidly obese and had significant heartburn symptoms or objective evidence of acid reflux, and had repeat esophageal physiologic testing after either LN or LGB. Data were obtained through retrospective review of prospectively collected data. Results: Twelve patients met the inclusion criteria: six patients who had LN and six who had LGB. The mean body mass index (BMI) was 55 kg/m2 in the LGB group and 39.8 in the LN group. After surgery, the mean DeMeester score decreased from 64.3 to 2.8 in the LN group (p = 0.01) and from 34.7 to 5.7 in the LGB group (p = 0.1). Both groups’ mean postoperative DeMeester scores were normal after surgery, and there was no significant difference between the two groups (p = 0.3). Both groups experienced a significant improvement in heartburn symptoms postoperatively. The mean preoperative symptom score improved from 3.5 to 0.5 in the LN group (p = 0.01) and from 2.2 to 0.2 in the LGB group (p = 0.003). There was no difference in the mean postoperative symptom scores between the groups (p = 0.35). After surgery, mean LES resting pressures increased from 12.9 to 35.5 (p = 0.003) in the LN group and from 23.6 to 29.7 (p = 0.45) in the LGB group. There were no complications in either group. Conclusion: Results of this study show that laparoscopic gastric bypass and laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication are both effective in treating heartburn symptoms and objective acid reflux in morbidly obese patients. The health benefits of weight loss after laparoscopic gastric bypass should make this operation the procedure of choice in the morbidly obese patient with heartburn.


Morbid obesity Laparoscopic gastric bypass Laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication Gastroesophageal reflux disease 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. J. Patterson
    • 1
    Email author
  • D. G. Davis
    • 1
  • Y. Khajanchee
    • 1
  • L. L. Swanström
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Minimally Invasive SurgeryLegacy Health System, 501 North Graham Street, Suite 120, Portland, OR 97227USA

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