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Int J Colorectal Dis. 2013 May;28(5):599-610. doi: 10.1007/s00384-013-1684-y. Epub 2013 Apr 16.

Current status of laparoscopic surgery for patients with Crohn's disease.

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  • 1Department of General and Visceral Surgery, University Hospital Muenster, Waldeyerstr 1, 48149 Muenster, Germany.



Minimally invasive surgery is increasingly utilized in treatment for refractory or complicated Crohn's disease, and new developments aim at further reducing the abdominal trauma and improving the outcome. This review evaluates current literature about minimally invasive surgery for patients with Crohn's disease, latest advances in single-incision surgery, and methods of specimen extraction.


Literature was reviewed with focus on the following topics: indications, surgical procedures, conversions, complications, and short- as well as long-term outcomes of laparoscopic compared to open surgery for refractory, complicated, and recurrent Crohn's disease.


Short-term benefits such as shorter hospital stay and faster postoperative recovery are accompanied by long-term benefits such as better cosmetic results and lower treatment-associated morbidity. Single-incision surgery and minimally invasive methods of specimen extraction help to further reduce the surgical trauma and are gradually implemented in the treatment.


In experienced centers, laparoscopic surgery for Crohn's disease is safe and as feasible as open operations, even for selected cases with operations for complicated or recurrent disease. However, accurate analysis of the data is complicated by the heterogeneity of clinical presentations as well as the variety of performed procedures. Additional long-term data are needed for evaluation of true benefits of the new techniques.

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