Laparoscopic gastric surgeries are routinely performed with use of a nasogastric tube to decompress the upper gastrointestinal tract. A distended upper gastrointestinal tract can complicate successful laparoscopic gastric surgery as the distention compromises not only the visual field but also the laparoscopic manipulation of the stomach. Since nasogastric intubation is not without risks, we have attempted laparoscopic-assisted gastric cancer surgeries without nasogastric tubes. In this article we describe a simple method of aspirating gastric contents using a 9 cm long 19-gauge needle inserted percutaneously during laparoscopic-assisted gastrectomy. First, a 9 cm long 19-gauge disposable needle was introduced through the abdominal wall. This needle was then introduced to the stomach through the anterior wall and the stomach gases and fluids were aspirated by connecting the needle to suction. Thus, a collapsed upper gastrointestinal tract was easily obtained. We performed this procedure instead of nasogastric decompression on twenty-two patients with gastric cancer who underwent laparoscopic-assisted distal subtotal gastrectomy with lymph node dissection. The results were good with only one patient experiencing wound infection (4.5%) and one patient with postoperative acalculus cholecystitis (4.5%). There were no patients with either intraabdominal infection or anastomotic leakage and none of the patients needed postoperative nasogastric decompression, except the patient who experienced acaculus cholecystitis. Percutaneous needle aspiration is a very simple and efficient technique with little risk of postoperative complications. It can be used as an alternative to nasogastric tube decompression of the gastrointestinal tract for laparoscopic-assisted gastrectomy.
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