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Laparoscopic treatment of colonic perforations related to colonoscopy

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Background: Colonic perforations associated with colonoscopy are rare but major complications. Conservative treatment is less invasive than major surgery, but any case of failure leads to more extensive surgical procedures with a higher morbidity and mortality than the immediate operative repair. To reduce the invasiveness of major surgery and avoid the risk of failure, we introduced laparoscopic techniques to deal with iatrogenic colonic perforations.

Methods: Each colonic perforation was identified by diagnostic laparoscopy. The perforation was then characterized by size and extent of thermal damage into one of three types, followed by type-dependent treatment (suture, tangential resection, segmental resection, or open procedure). Operative time, complications, clinical outcome, and patient satisfaction were recorded.

Results: Seven patients underwent diagnostic laparoscopy for colonic perforations. Laparoscopic treatment was performed on five patients (one simple closure by suture, three tangential resections, and one segmental resection). Two cases required open procedures. There was one intraoperative complication that necessitated conversion. There were no postoperative complications. All laparoscopically treated patients were satisfied with their clinical outcome and cosmetic results.

Conclusions: Laparoscopic treatment seems to reduce the invasiveness and morbidity of major surgery. At the same time, it is more definitive than conservative treatment, so that we now prefer to use laparoscopic techniques to treat colonic perforations related to colonoscopy.

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Received: 25 February 1998/Accepted: 22 June 1998

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Wullstein, C., Köppen, MO. & Gross, E. Laparoscopic treatment of colonic perforations related to colonoscopy. Surg Endosc 13, 484–487 (1999).

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