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Chir Ital. 2009 Jan-Feb;61(1):39-46.

[Role of laparoscopy in acute obstruction of the small bowel: personal experience and analysis of the literature].

[Article in Italian]

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  • 1UO di Chirurgia Generale V Bonomo, Dipartimento dell'Emergenza e dei Trapianti di Organi, Universit√† degli Studi di Bari.


Small bowel obstruction is caused by postoperative adhesions in most patients. The traditional surgical treatment has been laparotomy with adhesiolysis and possible resection of the ischaemic intestine. The laparoscopic approach has proved feasible but not without risks. We analysed our experience in the management of acute small bowel obstruction and then reviewed the literature in an attempt to identify the real role of laparoscopy. From January 2003 to June 2008, 19 patients operated on for small bowel obstruction were identified. We evaluated our performance in terms of the aetiology of the obstruction, operative time, length of postoperative hospital stay, conversion rate, and major morbidity and mortality. Postoperative adhesions were responsible for the occlusion in 13 cases; a single band was identified in 47% of patients (9 cases). Neoplastic disease (3 cases), a gallstone ileus, Crohn's disease and an internal hernia were the remaining cases. Laparoscopic treatment was only possible in 7 patients with single adhesions (77%), and a conversion was carried out in the remaining 12 cases (63%), including "laparoscopy-assisted" cases (6 cases). The duration of the intervention (89 +/- 21 min vs 135 +/- 27.5 min) and postoperative hospitalisation (3.6 +/- 1 days vs 6.25 +/- 1.6 days) were in favour of the completely laparoscopic group as compared to the laparoscopy-assisted group. A case of postoperative peritonitis due to bowel perforation required a second intervention. With an appropriate selection of patients, confirming the high incidence of the single adhesions responsible for the occlusion and the resulting high success rate of laparoscopy, we believe that only an initial laparoscopic approach can help identify such favourable situations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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