Laparoscopic paraesophageal hernia repairs performed in 116 patients between 1992 and 2001 were prospectively analyzed. Perioperative outcomes were assessed and follow-up was performed under protocol. There were 85 female and 31 male patients who had a mean (± SD) age of 65 ± 13 years and an American Society of Anesthesiology score of 2.3 ± 0.6. All but two patients underwent an antireflux procedure. Gastropexy was performed in 48 patients, an esophageal lengthening procedure in six patients, and prosthetic closure of the hiatus in six patients. Major complications occurred in five patients (4.3%) with two postoperative deaths (1.7%). Mean follow-up was 30 ± 25 months; 96 patients (83%) have been followed for more than 6 months. Among these patients, 73 (76%) are asymptomatic, 11 (11%) have mild symptoms, and 12 (13%) take antacid medications. Protocol barium esophagograms were obtained in 69% of patients at 6 to 12 months' follow-up. Recurrence of hiatal hernia was documented in 21 patients (22% overall and in 32% of those undergoing contrast studies). Reoperation has been performed in three patients (3%). When only the patients with recurrent hiatal hernias are considered, 13 (62%) are symptomatic but only six (28%) require medication for symptoms. Laparoscopic paraesophageal hernia repair is generally safe, even in this high-risk group. This study confirms a relatively high incidence of recurrent hiatal abnormalities after paraesophageal hernia repair; however, most recurrent hiatal hernias are small and only 3% have required reoperation. Protocol esophagograms detect recurrences that are minimally symptomatic. Improved techniques must be devised to improve the long-term outcomes of laparoscopic paraesophageal hernia repair.
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