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Background: It has been shown that long limb gastric bypass in the super-obese (BMI >50) results in increased weight loss in comparison with conventional gastric bypass. The purpose of this study was to compare the effect of short and long limb lengths in patients with BM I<50.

Methods: 48 patients with BMI <50 (46 females / 2 males, mean age 35 /-9.6 years) were prospectively randomized to either a short limb (biliopancreatic limb = 50 cm, alimentary limb = 100 cm) or long limb (biliopancreatic limb = 100 cm, alimentary limb = 150 cm) laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (LRYGBP). In all patients, a 25-mm EEA was used to fashion the gastrojejunostomy and the Roux limb was positioned in an antecolic, antegastric location. Limb lengths were precisely measured in all cases.

Results: There was no difference in demographic data, preoperative BMI, presence of co-morbidities, or duration of surgery. The overall complication rate was not different between the 2 groups; however, the incidence of internal hernias was significantly higher in the long limb group (0 vs 4, P=0.029). The length of hospital stay was longer for the short limb group compared to the long limb group (3.1 vs 2.2 respectively, P=0.004). When comparing the short limb to the long limb patients, the BMI decreased equally in both groups at the following time intervals: preoperative (44.6 vs 44.9), 3 weeks (40.3 vs 40.9), 3 months (35.5 vs 35.2), 6 months (31.2 vs 31.8), and 12 months (27.7 vs 28.3). There were no significant nutritional deficiencies in either group.

Conclusions: In patients with BMI <50 undergoing LRYGBP, increasing the length of the Roux limb does not improve weight loss and may lead to a higher incidence of internal hernias.

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