Gastroesophageal reflux disease and morbid obesity: To sleeve or not to sleeve?World J Gastroenterol. 2017 Apr 07; 23(13):2269-2275.WJ
Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) has reached wide popularity during the last 15 years, due to the limited morbidity and mortality rates, and the very good weight loss results and effects on comorbid conditions. However, there are concerns regarding the effects of LSG on gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The interpretation of the current evidence is challenged by the fact that the LSG technique is not standardized, and most studies investigate the presence of GERD by assessing symptoms and the use of acid reducing medications only. A few studies objectively investigated gastroesophageal function and the reflux profile by esophageal manometry and 24-h pH monitoring, reporting postoperative normalization of esophageal acid exposure in up to 85% of patients with preoperative GERD, and occurrence of de novo GERD in about 5% of cases. There is increasing evidence showing the key role of the surgical technique on the incidence of postoperative GERD. Main technical issues are a relative narrowing of the mid portion of the gastric sleeve, a redundant upper part of the sleeve (both depending on the angle under which the sleeve is stapled), and the presence of a hiatal hernia. Concomitant hiatal hernia repair is recommended. To date, either medical therapy with proton pump inhibitors or conversion of LSG to laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass are the available options for the management of GERD after LSG. Recently, new minimally invasive approaches have been proposed in patients with GERD and hypotensive LES: the LINX® Reflux Management System procedure and the Stretta® procedure. Large studies are needed to assess the safety and long-term efficacy of these new approaches. In conclusion, the recent publication of pH monitoring data and the new insights in the association between sleeve morphology and GERD control have led to a wider acceptance of LSG as bariatric procedure also in obese patients with GERD, as recently stated in the 5th International Consensus Conference on sleeve gastrectomy.