Objective To perform a systematic review and meta-analysis evaluating the risk of reoperation, wound infection, incisional hernia, anastomotic leak, and all-cause mortality associated with laparoscopic vs open bariatric surgery at a minimum of 12 months' follow-up.
Data Sources We systematically searched the Cochrane Library, EMBASE, and MEDLINE databases through June 1, 2010, for randomized controlled trials comparing laparoscopic with open bariatric surgery.
Study Selection We included all randomized controlled trials that reported weight loss outcomes and complications at a minimum of 12 months' follow-up and had a minimum of 50 patients. We identified 6 randomized controlled trials, which randomized 510 patients.
Data Extraction Data were extracted by 2 reviewers on study design, baseline characteristics, and surgical procedure. The outcome data extracted included change in weight and body mass index and the incidence of reoperation, wound infection, incisional hernia, anastomotic leak, and all-cause mortality.
Data Synthesis We used random-effects models, which accounted for within-study and between-study variability, to estimate pooled risk ratios (95% CIs). Compared with open surgery, laparoscopic surgery was associated with lower risk of wound infection (relative risk [RR], 0.21; 95% CI, 0.07-0.65) and incisional hernia (RR, 0.11; 95% CI, 0.03-0.35). The risk of reoperation (RR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.70-1.61), anastomotic leak (RR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.14-2.95), and all-cause mortality (RR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.22-3.28) may be similar for laparoscopic and open bariatric surgery.
Conclusion Laparoscopic surgery may be a safer treatment than open surgery for patients requiring bariatric surgery.