2 The procedure

2.1 Indications

2.1.1 Laparo-endogastric surgery is also known as laparoscopic endoluminal surgery, endo-organ gastric surgery and laparoendoscopic gastric surgery. It is used to treat lesions located in the fundus of the stomach, the gastroesophageal junction, and near the pylorus. These include gastric polyps, gastric wall tumours (lymphomas, leiomyomas, leiomyosarcomas, carcinoids), gastric cancer, Dieulafoy's lesion (arterial malformation) and intractable gastroduodenal ulcers. Lesions on the greater and lesser curvatures are relatively inaccessible.

2.1.2 Large or advanced gastric cancers are rarely suitable for laparo-endogastric surgery.

2.1.3 Traditional approaches to gastric surgery are resection operations through a laparotomy incision or laparoscopy.

2.2 Outline of the procedure

2.2.1 Laparo-endogastric surgery is a minimally invasive approach to surgery for gastric wall lesions, and attempts to avoid resection of the full thickness of the stomach wall. With the patient under general anaesthetic, the surgeon passes an endoscope through the oesophagus into the stomach. A laparoscope is inserted through a small incision in the upper abdominal wall, passed into the stomach, and surgery is performed from inside the stomach.

2.3 Efficacy

2.3.1 Evidence was from small, uncontrolled case series. The efficacy of the procedure compared with conventional open laparotomy or laparoscopic partial gastrectomy remains uncertain. For more details refer to the sources of evidence section.

2.3.2 Specialist Advisors considered laparo-endogastric surgery to be a very new procedure carried out in very few specialist units worldwide. The technique is not widely disseminated, and there are few opportunities for training. One Specialist Advisor questioned the procedure's efficiency in excising small malignant lesions completely.

2.4 Safety

2.4.1 Few complications were reported in the studies. As the case series are so small, it is not possible to reliably estimate the frequency of complications. For more details refer to the sources of evidence section.

2.4.2 Specialist Advisors noted that possible complications include leaking at the site of repair to the stomach following surgery and subsequent infection or bleeding, but these were uncommon.

2.5 Other comments

2.5.1 The Interventional Procedures Advisory Committee noted that the inadequate visualisation of tumours might lead to staging errors, and identified tumour spillage as a potential risk.

2.5.2 The Advisory Committee also noted that the technique is likely to have limited application in the foreseeable future.

Andrew Dillon
Chief Executive
December 2003