Technical factors associated with anastomotic leak after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass

Mark D. Smith, Abidemi Adeniji, Abdus S. Wahed, Emma Patterson, William Chapman, Anita P. Courcoulas, Gregory Dakin, David Flum, Carol McCloskey, James E. Mitchell, Alfons Pomp, Myrlene Staten, Bruce Wolfe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background Anastomotic leak is one of the most serious complications after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB). Our objective was to examine the relationship between technical factors and incidence of clinically relevant anastomotic leak after RYGB in longitudinal assessment of bariatric surgery (LABS). The setting of the study was 11 bariatric centers in the United States, university, and private practice. Methods Patient characteristics, technical factors of surgery, and postoperative outcomes were assessed by trained researchers using standardized protocols. Correlation of surgical factors of patients undergoing RYGB (n = 4444) with the incidence of postoperative anastomotic leak was assessed by univariate χ2 analysis. Results Forty-four participants (1.0%, 95% CI.7%-1.3%) experienced a clinically relevant anastomotic leak. Of these, 39 (89%) underwent abdominal reoperation and 3 (7%) died. Technical factors associated with anastomotic leak were open surgery (P<.0001), revision surgery (P<.0001), and use of an abdominal drain (P =.02). Provocative leak testing, method of gastrojejunostomy, and use of fibrin sealant were not associated with anastomotic leak. Conclusions Anastomotic leak after RYGB was rare (1.0%). Most cases required reintervention; however, the majority (93%) recovered from this event. Open surgery, revision surgery, and routine drain placement were associated with increased leak rate. Some of these findings may be due to differences in preoperative patient risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-320
Number of pages8
JournalSurgery for Obesity and Related Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Anastomotic leak
  • Roux-en-Y gastric bypass
  • Technical factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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