Laparoscopic surgery for diverticulitis
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Background: Resection of diverticular disease may be quite challenging; the acute inflammatory process, thick sigmoid mesentery, and any associated fistula or abscess can make this procedure technically demanding. The aim of this study was to compare the results between laparoscopic and laparotomy-type resections stratified by disease severity and thereby predict outcome and possibly a subset of patients who may benefit from a laparoscopic approach.
Methods: From August 1991 to December 1995, all patients with diverticular disease were classified according to a modified Hinchey classification system. The laparoscopic group included 18 patients who underwent a laparoscopic assisted colectomy, one with a loop ileostomy. The identical procedures were performed in 18 patients by laparotomy. The mean age of the two groups were 62.8 and 67.1 years, respectively (p= NS).
Results: Seven of 18 patients in whom laparoscopy was attempted (38.9%) had conversion to laparotomy. Six of seven (85.7%) conversions were directly related to the intense inflammatory process. Laparoscopic treated patients with Hinchey IIa or IIb disease had a morbidity rate of 33.3% and a conversion rate of 50% while all patients with Hinchey I disease were successfully completed without morbidity or conversions to laparotomy. However, after the first four cases, the intraoperative morbidity and postoperative morbidity rates were zero and 14.3% and after ten cases they were zero and zero, respectively. Furthermore, the median length of hospitalization for Hinchey I patients after laparoscopy was 5.0 days vs 7 days after laparotomy (p < 0.05). In Hinchey IIa and IIb patients, the median length of hospitalization was almost 50% shorter with a laparoscopic approach (6 days vs 10 days, p < 0.05).
Conclusion: In conclusion, laparoscopic resection of diverticulitis can be performed without additional morbidity particularly in Hinchey I patients and with a reduced length of hospitalization in patients with class I or II disease. Patients with class I disease, and after initial experience even those with class II disease, can benefit from the reduced morbidity and length of hospitalization associated with laparoscopic treatment.
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