, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 477-481
Date: 15 Jul 2008

“Peek port”: a novel approach for avoiding conversion in laparoscopic colectomy

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This study aimed to assess the efficacy of a method for avoiding conversion to laparotomy in patients considered for laparoscopic colectomy. Patients deemed to be at high risk for conversion to laparotomy were initially approached via an 8-cm midline incision (“peek port”) with the laparoscopic equipment unopened. If intraperitoneal conditions were favorable, the procedure was performed using hand-assisted laparoscopy. If intraperitoneal conditions were unfavorable, the incision was extended to a formal laparotomy. Patients deemed to be at low risk for conversion to laparotomy were approached laparoscopically from the outset.


Data from 241 consecutive patients brought to the operating room for intended laparoscopic colectomy were retrieved from a prospective database.


The study population consisted of 132 men and 109 women with a mean age of 62 years and a mean body mass index (BMI) of 28. Prior abdominal surgery had been performed in 49% of these patients. Inflammatory conditions accounted for 38% of the diagnoses, and enteric fistulas were present in 7% of the cases. Of the 25 patients who underwent the initial “peek port,” 8 (32%) underwent immediate incision extension to formal laparotomy. Hand-assisted laparoscopic colectomy was performed in 17 (68%) of these 25 patients, with one subsequent conversion to formal laparotomy. Of the 216 patients initially approached laparoscopically, 5 (2%) required conversion to laparotomy. The laparotomy rate for the “peek port” group (9/25, 36%) was higher than for the initial laparoscopy group (5/216, 2%) (p < 0.0001). Of the 233 patients from both groups who underwent laparoscopy, the overall rate for conversion to laparotomy was 3% (6/233).


The “peek port” approach to the patient with a potentially hostile abdomen allows for rapid assessment of intraperitoneal conditions and is associated with an overall low rate of conversion from laparoscopy to laparotomy. This technique should reduce overall cost by avoiding the use of laparoscopic equipment as well as potential complications related to trocar placement and laparoscopic dissection in patients who will ultimately require formal laparotomy.