BACKGROUND: Only a few, small, monocentric randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have compared routine vs. no placement of a nasogastric or nasojejunal tube decompression (NG/NJT) in patients undergoing partial distal gastrectomy (PDG) for gastric cancer. However, to our knowledge, no multicenter prospective RCT has analyzed the role of decompression after both the Billroth II (BII) procedure and Roux-en-Y (RY) gastrojejunostomy. The aim of this study was to determine whether NG/NJT prevents the consequences of postoperative ileus after PDG for gastric cancer after both BII reconstruction and RY.
METHODS: Two hundred seventy patients undergoing PDG for gastric cancer were randomly assigned NG/NJT placement (NG/NJT group) or not (no-NG/NJT group) with either Billroth II gastrojejunostomy or Roux-en-Y gastrojejunostomy. The patients were monitored for postoperative complications, mortality, and postoperative course.
RESULTS: By January 2010 to June 2012, among 270 patients undergoing PDG for gastric cancer, 134 were randomly assigned to NG/NJT placement (NG/NJT group) and 136 to no decompression (no-NG/NJT group). Time to passage of flatus was significantly shorter in the NG/NJT group than in the no-NG/NJT group, but only after RY reconstruction (3.3 ± 1.5 vs. 4.3 ± 1.6 days, P < 0.001, respectively). Postoperative abdominal distention was significantly lower in the NG/NJT group than in the no-NG/NJT group after both BII and the RY procedure (P < 0.001). No significant differences in postoperative mortality or morbidity, especially anastomotic leakage or intra-abdominal sepsis, were observed between the groups.
CONCLUSION: Routine placement of an NG/NJT after BII and RY PDG is not necessary in elective surgery for gastric cancer.