The complications of laparoscopic paraesophageal hernia repair at two institutions were reviewed to determine the rate and type of complications. A total of 76 patients underwent laparoscopic paraesophageal hernia repair between December 1992 and April 1996. Seventy-one of them had fundoplication (6 required a Collis-Nissen procedure). Five patients underwent hernia reduction and gastropexy only. There was one conversion to laparotomy. Traumatic visceral injury occurred in eight patients (11%) (gastric lacerations in 3, esophageal lacerations in 2, and bougie dilator perforations in 3). All lacerations were repaired intraoperatively except for one that was not recognized until postoperative day 2. Vagus nerve injuries occurred in at least three patients. Three delayed perforations occurred in the postoperative period (4%) (2 gastric and 1 esophageal). Two patients had pulmonary complications, two had gastroparesis, and one had fever of unknown origin. Seven patients required reoperation for gastroparesis (n = 2), dysphagia after mesh hiatal closure of the hiatus (n = 1), or recurrent herniation (n = 4). There were two deaths (3%): one from septic complications and one from myocardial infarction. Paraesophageal hernia repair took significantly longer (3.7 hours) than standard fundoplication (2.5 hours) in a concurrent series (P <0.05). Laparoscopic paraesophageal hernia repair is feasible but challenging. The overall complication rate, although significant, is lower than that for nonsurgically managed paraesophageal hernia.
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