Surgical Endoscopy

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 496-502

First online:

Laparoscopic and open reversal of Hartmann’s procedure—a comparative retrospective analysis

  • Haggi MazehAffiliated withDepartment of General Surgery, Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center
  • , Alexander J. GreensteinAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • , Kristin SwedishAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • , Scott Q. NguyenAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • , Aaron LipskarAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • , Kaare J. WeberAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • , Edward H. ChinAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • , Celia M. DivinoAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, Mount Sinai School of Medicine Email author 

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Restoration of intestinal continuity after Hartmann’s procedure has traditionally required laparotomy. This study compares our experience with laparoscopic and open reversal of Hartmann’s procedure.

Study design

All laparoscopic and open Hartmann’s reversal procedures performed between January 1998 and June 2006 were reviewed. Patients with laparoscopic reversal were retrospectively matched by age, body mass index (BMI), and indication to controls with open reversal. Demographic data, perioperative course, and postoperative complications were documented.


We identified 41 patients who underwent laparoscopic reversal of Hartmann’s procedure and these were matched to 41 patients with open reversal. The groups had similar average age and BMI. The predominant indication for surgery in both groups was diverticular disease. Conversion to laparotomy occurred in eight patients (19.5%), and was due to dense adhesions or difficulty in identification of the rectal stump. Adhesions were significantly greater in the conversion group (p <0.05), and the rectal stump was not marked in any of these cases. The most common short-term complications were ileus and surgical site infection. There were no anastomotic leaks and no mortalities. The mean operative times in the laparoscopic and open groups were 193 versus 209 min, respectively (p = 0.33). The laparoscopic group had a significantly lower estimated blood loss of 166 versus 326 mL (p < 0.0005), shorter time to bowel function return (4.1 versus 5.2 days, p < 0.05), and a shorter hospital stay (6.4 versus 8.0 days, p < 0.05). The major complication rate was also significantly lower in the laparoscopic group than in the open group (4.8% versus 12.1%, p < 0.05).


Laparoscopic reversal of Hartmann’s procedure is a safe and practical alternative to open reversal. It can be performed with similar operative time, fewer complications, and a faster recovery time. Conversion during the reversal procedure was significantly impacted by severity of adhesions and marking of the rectal stump.

Key words

Hartmann’s procedure Reversal Laparoscopy Colostomy closure