PURPOSE: Gastric surgery may potentiate delayed gastric emptying. Billroth I gastroduodenostomy using a circular stapler is the most preferable reconstruction method. The purpose of this study is to analyze the risk factors associated with delayed gastric emptying after radical subtotal gastrectomy with Billroth I anastomosis using a stapler for early gastric cancer. METHODS: Three hundred and seventy-eight patients who underwent circular stapled Billroth I gastroduodenostomy after subtotal gastrectomy due to early gastric cancer were analyzed retrospectively. One hundred and eighty-two patients had Billroth I anastomosis using a 25 mm diameter circular stapler, and 196 patients had anastomosis with a 28 or 29 mm diameter circular stapler. Clinicopathological features and postoperative outcomes were evaluated and compared between the two groups. Delayed gastric emptying was diagnosed by symptoms and simple abdomen X-ray with or without upper gastrointestinal series or endoscopy. RESULTS: Postoperative delayed gastric emptying was found in 12 (3.2%) of the 378 patients. Among all the variables, distal margin and circular stapler diameter were significantly different between the cases with delayed gastric emptying and no delayed gastric emptying. There were statistically significant differences in sex, body mass index, comorbidity, complication, and operation type according to circular stapler diameter. In both univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses, only the stapler diameter was found to be a significant factor affecting delayed gastric emptying (P = 0.040). CONCLUSION: In this study, the circular stapler diameter was one of the most significant predictable factors of delayed gastric emptying for Billroth I gastroduodenostomy. The use of a 28 or 29 mm diameter circular stapler rather than a 25 mm diameter stapler in stapled gastroduodenostomy for early gastric cancer can reduce postoperative delayed gastric emptying associated with anastomosic stenosis or edema with relative safety.