Seventeen-year Outcome of a Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing Laparoscopic and Conventional Nissen Fundoplication: A Plea for Patient Counseling and Clarification

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Objective:To analyze long-term outcome of a randomized clinical trial comparing laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication (LNF) and conventional Nissen fundoplication (CNF) for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).Background:LNF has replaced CNF, based on positive short and mid-term outcome. Studies with a follow-up of over 15 years are scarce, but are desperately needed for patient counselling.Methods:Between 1997 and 1999, 177 patients with proton pump inhibitor (PPI)-refractory GERD were randomized to CNF or LNF. Data regarding the presence of reflux symptoms, dysphagia, general health, PPI use, and need for surgical reintervention at 17 years are reported.Results:A total of 111 patients (60 LNF, 51 CNF) were included. Seventeen years after LNF and CNF, 90% and 95% of the patients reported symptom relief, with no differences in GERD symptoms or dysphagia. Forty-three and 49% of the patients used PPIs (NS). Both groups demonstrated significant improvement in general health (77% vs 71%; NS) and quality of life (75.3 vs 74.7; NS). Surgical reinterventions were more frequent after CNF (18% vs 45%; P = 0.002), mainly due to incisional hernia corrections (3% vs 14%; P = 0.047).Conclusions:The effects of LNF and CNF on symptomatic outcome and general state of health remain for up to 17 years after surgery, with no differences between the 2 procedures. CNF carries a higher risk of surgical reintervention, mainly due to incisional hernia corrections. Patients should be informed that 17 years after Nissen fundoplication, 60% of the patients are off PPIs, and 16% require reoperation for recurrent GERD and/or dysphagia.

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