Background Although endoscopic surgical procedures are popular in various fields, reports on its use in gastric surgical procedures are limited. This study was designed to review our initial experience with laparoscopic gastric surgical techniques to evaluate indications and surgical results. Study design We undertook a retrospective analysis of 100 patients (66 men and 34 women, mean age 63 years) who underwent laparoscopic gastric surgical procedures between 1995 and 2001. Procedures performed were distal gastrectomy (n = 76), wedge resection (n = 20), and intragastric surgical procedures (n = 4). Patients were divided into two groups according to the date of the procedure, from the earliest to the most recent. Results There were 85 patients with gastric cancers, 14 submucosal tumors, and 1 duodenal ulcer. In 8 cases conversion was made to an open surgical procedure. Operation times required for distal gastrectomy, wedge resection, and intragastric surgical procedures were 330 ± 69, 144 ± 34, and 298 ± 106 min, and blood loss was 354 ± 251, 56 ± 94, and 33 ± 58 g, respectively. Complications included transient anastomotic stenosis (n = 5), leakage (n = 4), and bleeding (n = 1) after distal gastrectomy, and bleeding (n = 1) after intragastric surgical procedures. There were no complications after wedge resection. Comparing the first and second halves of the series, the percentage of distal gastrectomy significantly increased from 66% to 86% (p = 0.02) and the number of dissected lymph nodes at this procedure increased from 20 ± 13 to 33 ± 17 (p < 0.01). Conclusions Laparoscopic gastric surgical procedures are safe and feasible for early gastric cancers and submucosal tumors. Technical advances in lymph node dissection have made distal gastrectomy a leading and increasingly popular laparoscopic procedure for early gastric cancer.
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