Background: The incidence of internal hernia after gastrectomy can increase with the increasing use of laparoscopic surgery, although this trend has not been elucidated. Methods: Clinical information was collected from medical records and by questionnaire for 18 patients who underwent surgical treatment for internal hernia after gastrectomy for gastric cancer in 24 hospitals from January 2005 to December 2009. Results: Gastrectomy for gastric cancer was open/distal gastrectomy (DG) in five (28%) patients, open/total gastrectomy (TG) in seven (39%), laparoscopy-assisted/DG in three (17%), and laparoscopy-assisted/TG in 3 (17%). Reconstruction was by Roux-Y methods in all patients. The hernia orifice was classified as a jejunojejunostomy mesenteric defect in eight patients (44%), dorsum of the Roux limb (Petersen's space) in eight (44%), and one (5%) each of esophageal hiatus and mesenterium of the transverse colon. Among 8,983 patients who underwent gastrectomy for gastric cancer, a postoperative survey revealed that 13 patients underwent surgical treatment for internal hernia in the same hospitals. The 3-year incidence rate of the internal hernia was 0.19%, which was significantly higher after laparoscopy-assisted than open gastrectomy (0.53 vs. 0.15%, p = 0.03). Patients with an internal hernia had a mean (±SD) low weight at hernia operation (body mass index 17.9 ± 1.6 kg/m 2) and marked weight loss after gastrectomy (weight reduction 15.6 ± 5.8%). Conclusions: Gastrectomy with Roux-Y reconstruction for gastric cancer leaves several spaces that can cause internal hernia formation. Laparoscopic surgery and postoperative body weight loss are potential risk factors.
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