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Food retention and bile reflux has been frequently observed in gastric cancer patients following a subtotal gastrectomy. The aim of this study was to determine whether reconstruction methods after the distal subtotal gastrectomy influenced the degree of food residue and bile reflux.The prospectively collected data was reviewed retrospectively for 522 patients with early gastric cancer who had undertaken a followup endoscopic examination after a distal subtotal gastrectomy between 2003 and 2006.The incidence of food retention was 55.5%, 31.9%, and 20.9% at 3, 12, and 24 months after distal subtotal gastrectomy, respectively. The food residue score was higher in the Billroth I (stapling) group than the Billroth II (hand sewing) group at 3 months after surgery (P = 0.006). The incidence of bile reflux was higher in the Billroth II group than in the Billroth I group at 12 and 24 months after surgery (P < 0.001, P = 0.002, respectively). No significant association was found between the food retention and body weight changes.Food retention was detected in lots of patients after subtotal gastrectomy and the reconstructive methods after subtotal gastrectomy was not relevant to food retention.