The surgical trauma of abdominal wall incision
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Background: Laparoscopic operations seem to respect the integrity of the abdominal wall better than conventional laparotomy, but the effects of surgical trauma are not well understood. The new technique of three-dimensional stereography makes it possible to describe and calculate the mobility of the abdominal wall and the nature of the underlying disturbances. Methods: Three-dimensional stereography is a noninvasive optical method of measuring surface areas. Abdominal wall mobility can be assessed by comparing changes to the abdominal surface in its minimum and maximum excursions. Different parameters, such as height difference and curvature, are calculated. We studied patients undergoing different types of surgical procedures (laparoscopy and open surgery) by measuring their abdominal wall mobility before and after the procedure. We also compared these patients to a control group. Each group consisted of 30 patients, who were evaluated prospectively. Results: We found a significant difference in abdominal wall mobility between patients treated via a laparoscopic approach, and those who had conventional surgery. At 7 days after laparoscopy, abdominal movement was always the same in the laparoscopic group as in the controls. By contrast, the open surgery group still showed a significant lack of mobility 12 days after the procedure. Conclusion: The new method of three-dimensional stereography makes it possible to compare the trauma associated with different surgical approaches as it affects the integrity of the abdominal wall. As compared with open surgery, laparoscopy has a significant positive effect on abdominal wall integrity.
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