A Bougie is a flexible plastic tube that comes in different sizes. It can be used to calibrate the size of the stomach during the duodenal switch or Sleeve gastrectomy. It is also used to dilate strictures of the esophagus or the stomach.
I am commonly asked what size is the bougie that I use. My usual answer is that it is equivalent to a 38 or so, and that the size does not matter.
Many surgeons do not use these types dilators, but rather alternative tubes that function as a sizer and a suction tube to eliminates the need for multiple tube insertions and removals.
The July 2014 publication of Obesity Surgery had and article by Spivak et.al. titled “Laparsocopic Sleeve Gastrectomy Using 42-French Versus 32-French Bougie: The First-Year Outcome.” In conclusion they reported that using 42 vs 32 French Bougie does not influence the weight loss of resolution of the combed condition in the first year.
There also other studies that support the position of erring on the side a larger sizer, a 40-French, to decrease the leak rate without having an impact on the excess weight loss at 3 years time.
The take home massage is that the size of the stomach after the sleeve does not predict the outcome of the weight loss surgery independently. There are multiple factors in play such as age, amount of excess weight, diet adherence and exercise.
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