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Am J Surg. 1995 May;169(5):543-5.

Major vascular injuries during laparoscopic procedures.

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  • 1Cascade Vascular Associates, Tacoma, Washington 98405, USA.



Major vascular complications following laparoscopic procedures are rare, with only 20 cases reported in the literature.


The cases of 4 patients who sustained 5 vascular injuries during laparoscopic procedures between June 1991 and May 1994 are presented, and previously reported cases in the literature are reviewed.


All injuries occurred during pelvic laparoscopy (2 diagnostic procedures, 1 tubal ligation, and 1 hernia repair). The vascular injury was recognized during laparoscopy in 3 patients. In only 1 patient was immediate vascular surgery consultation requested. The iliac artery was injured in 3 patients, the iliac vein in 1, and the inferior epigastric artery in 1. The mechanism of injury was by the trocar in 2 patients and by sharp dissection in 2 patients. Arterial repair was accomplished by polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) interposition, PTFE patch angioplasty, resection and primary anastomosis, and ligation in 1 patient each. The venous injury was repaired by lateral venorrhaphy. Three patients recovered without sequelae, and 1 patient had a stroke. A review of the literature revealed only 20 reported cases of major vascular injuries as a result of the pneumoperitoneum needle or trocar insertion. Characteristically, the terminal aorta, cava, iliac arteries, and veins were injured. Most injuries were treated by direct suture repair. With immediate recognition, recovery was the rule; however, 3 of the 8 patients with delayed recognition died.


Laparoscopists must be aware of this rare, serious, and potentially lethal complication. Once recognized, immediate conversion to an open procedure and application of appropriate vascular surgical techniques are required to reestablish arterial and venous continuity and minimize morbidity and mortality.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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