BACKGROUND: Laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication has gained wide acceptance among surgeons, but the results of the laparoscopic procedure have not been compared to the results of an open fundoplication in a randomized study. METHODS: Some 110 consecutive patients with prolonged symptoms of grade II-IV esophagitis were randomized, 55 to laparoscopic (LAP) and 55 to an open (OPEN) Nissen fundoplication. Postoperative recovery, complications, and outcome at 3- and 12-month follow-up were compared in the two groups. RESULTS: Five LAP operations were converted to open laparotomy due to esophageal perforation (two), technical difficulties (two), and bleeding (one). In the OPEN group (two) patients underwent splenectomy. There was no mortality. The mean hospital stay was 3.2 days in the LAP group and 6.4 in the OPEN group. Dysphagia and gas bloating were the most common complaints 3 months after the operation in both groups. These symptoms had disappeared at the 12-month follow-up examination. All patients in the LAP group and 86% in the OPEN group were satisfied with the result. CONCLUSIONS: Laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication is a safe and feasible procedure. Complications are few and functional results are good if not better than those of conventional open surgery.
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