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Marginal ulceration after laparoscopic gastric bypass: an analysis of predisposing factors in 260 patients



Marginal ulceration after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) is diagnosed in 1% to 16% of patients. The factors predisposing patients to marginal ulceration are still unclear.


A total of 260 patients who underwent laparoscopic RYGB were retrospectively reviewed. Data regarding demographics, comorbidities, body mass index (BMI), Helicobacter pylori infection, gastrojejunal (GJ) anastomotic leaks, postoperative bleeding, operative time, type of suture material, and marginal ulcer formation were collected. Fisher’s exact test was used for statistical analysis of discrete variables, and Student’s t-test was used for continuous variables. Statistical significance was set at an alpha of 0.05.


The overall marginal ulceration rate was 7%. Demographic data (age, gender distribution, BMI) did not differ significantly between patients who experienced marginal ulceration and those who did not (p > 0.05). Similarly, technical factors (choice of permanent or absorbable suture for the GJ anastomosis, attending as primary surgeon, robotic GJ, operative time, postoperative hematocrit drop) were not statistically different between the two groups (p > 0.05). Finally, the prevalence of comorbidities (diabetes, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea, musculoskeletal complaints, dyslipidemia, gastroesophageal reflux disease [GERD] and peptic ulcer disease [PUD]) did not differ significantly between the two groups (p > 0.05). However, preoperative H. pylori infection, although adequately treated, was twice as common among the patients who had marginal ulceration (32%) as among those who did not (12%) (p = 0.02). All the patients who experienced marginal ulcers had complete resolution of symptoms with proton pump inhibitors and sucralfate. No reoperations were required for marginal ulceration.


Helicobacter pylori may potentiate marginal ulcer formation. The authors hypothesize that H. pylori damages the mucosal barrier in a way that persists postoperatively, which may precipitate marginal ulceration even when the organism has been medically eradicated.

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The authors thank Mr. William Smith for his assistance in accumulating data and Mrs. Marie Carvidi for her editorial assistance. This research was supported by a research grant from Stryker Endoscopy.

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Correspondence to M. R. Ali.

Additional information

Submitted for oral/poster presentation at the annual meeting of the Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES), April 2007

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Rasmussen, J.J., Fuller, W. & Ali, M.R. Marginal ulceration after laparoscopic gastric bypass: an analysis of predisposing factors in 260 patients. Surg Endosc 21, 1090–1094 (2007).

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  • Anastomotic ulcer
  • Bariatric
  • Gastric bypass
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Laparoscopy
  • Marginal ulcer
  • Obesity