SAN DIEGO – Laparoscopic removal of the Lap-Band and reversal to sleeve gastrectomy is a safe and feasible operation, results from a two-center study showed.
"Since the Lap-Band was introduced in the United States in 2001, it has been a popular minimally invasive procedure for weight loss," Dr. Abdelkader A. Hawasli said at the annual meeting of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. "However, recent reports have shown that there’s an increased rate of explantation (up to 49%)" because of complications or failure to lose weight. Options are removal, reversion, or reversal to a nonphysiological procedure, "such as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or biliopancreatic diversion. However, recent reports have been showing that sleeve gastrectomy could be a possible physiologic alternative."
For the current study, Dr. Hawasli, a surgeon at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit and Beaumont Hospital in Grosse Pointe, Mich., and his associates set out to evaluate the safety of the laparoscopic reversal of the Lap-Band to sleeve gastrectomy, the feasibility of performing simultaneous laparoscopic removal of the Lap-Band and reversal to sleeve gastrectomy, and the results of the sleeve gastrectomy after reversal as the final bariatric procedure in continuing or maintaining weight loss.
Dr. Hawasli reported on 485 patients who had undergone Lap-Band placement at St. John Hospital and Medical Center and 4 who had undergone the procedure at another institution from January 2004 to October 2011.
Of the 489 patients, 34 (7%) had reversal of the Lap-Band to sleeve gastrectomy. Of these, 20 patients (group 1) underwent reversal because of slippage in 15 cases, erosion in 3 cases, and infection in 2 cases, whereas 14 patients (group 2) underwent reversal because they were dissatisfied with their weight loss. The mean time of the reversal to sleeve gastrectomy was more than 3 years from Lap-Band insertion among the slippage subset patients in group 1 and among all patients in group 2 (36.5 vs. 43.3 months, respectively).
The majority of patients (32) underwent simultaneous removal of the band with reversal to sleeve gastrectomy, whereas 2 underwent a staged sleeve gastrectomy.
Dr. Hawasli reported that there were just two complications in group 1: one leak, which occurred because of erosion, and one narrowing. Both cases were treated conservatively. There were no complications in group 2. There were no readmissions in group 1, whereas in group 2 one patient was readmitted for nausea and one for dehydration.
Patients in both groups lost weight after the reversal, but the loss was more pronounced in group 1, compared with group 2 (mean total body mass index loss, –15.8 kg/m2 vs. –10.8, respectively; mean percentage of excess BMI loss, –66.5% vs. –44.6%; all P less than .05).
To explain this difference in weight loss, Dr. Hawasli said that patients in group 1 lost most of their weight before the reversal (mean BMI loss, –11.7) and lost additional weight after the reversal (mean BMI loss, –3.8). However, group 2 patients struggled with weight loss before the reversal (mean BMI loss, –3.6) and they may have continued to struggle after the reversal, even though they lost more weight after the reversal than did group 1 patients (mean BMI loss, –7.2 vs. –3.8, respectively), which is expected.
"Another reason could be the short postreversal follow-up period (a mean of 9 months)," during which they did not get enough time to lose more weight, he explained.
In group 1, the mean operative time was 159 minutes for patients with Lap-Band slippage and 174 minutes for those with erosion or infection. The mean operative time in group 2 was 106 minutes.
Length of stay was about 2 days in both groups, but reached a mean of 3.6 days for the subset of group 1 patients who had reversal because of infection or erosion.
"The short-term results of weight loss after the reversal are better in patients who had the reversal secondary to complications," Dr. Hawasli concluded. "Concomitant removal of the band and reversal to sleeve gastrectomy did not increase the risk of complications except in patients with erosion. Thus, patients with erosion may benefit better from staged reversal."
Dr. Hawasli disclosed that he receives compensation from Covidien as a proctor.