Laparoscopic gastrectomy has the advantage of early recovery at the initial phase after surgery. However, there are only few reports of mid- or long-term observations of patients' quality of life. In all, 254 Stage IA or IB [laparoscopy-assisted distal gastrectomy (LADG): 177, open distal gastrectomy (ODG): 77] patients were enrolled. Heart burn, diarrhea, abdominal pain, amount of food intake, and body weight of each patient were investigated at 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year after surgery. Recovery of the amount of oral intake for the LADG group occurred earlier than for the ODG group; significant differences were seen at months 1 and 6 postoperatively. A significantly lower incidence of diarrhea was observed in the LADG group at months 6 and 12 postoperatively. Early recovery of the amount of food intake and fewer incidences of diarrhea were shown to have mid-term merits for postgastrectomy symptoms.
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