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Arch Surg. 2000 Feb;135(2):208-12.

Prevalence and mechanisms of small intestinal obstruction following laparoscopic abdominal surgery: a retrospective multicenter study. French Association for Surgical Research.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France.



The prevalence and mechanisms of intestinal obstruction following laparoscopic abdominal surgery have not been studied extensively.


Retrospective review of cases of intestinal obstruction after laparoscopic surgery.


Sixteen surgical units performing laparoscopy in France.


Twenty-four patients with intestinal obstruction.


Prevalence values and descriptive data.


The 3 most frequent primary procedures responsible for intestinal obstruction were cholecystectomy (10 cases), transperitoneal hernia repair (5 cases), and appendectomy (4 cases). Prevalences of early postoperative intestinal obstruction after these procedures were 0.11%, 2.5%, and 0.16%, respectively. Intestinal obstruction was due to adhesions or fibrotic bands in 12 cases and to intestinal incarceration in 11 cases. Obstruction was located at the trocar site in 13 cases (9 incarcerations and 4 adhesions), mainly at the umbilicus, and in the operative field in 10 cases (2 incarcerations in a wall defect after transperitoneal inguinal hernia repair, 4 adhesions, and 4 fibrotic bands). The small intestine was involved in 23 of 24 cases; the other was due to cecal volvulus following unrecognized intestinal malrotation. Intestinal obstruction was treated by laparoscopic adhesiolysis in 6 patients and by laparotomy in 18 patients, 6 of whom required small intestine resection. Three postoperative complications but no deaths occurred.


Intestinal obstruction following laparoscopic abdominal surgery can occur irrespective of the type of operation; the prevalence is as high as (cholecystectomy and appendectomy) or even higher than (transperitoneal hernia repair) that seen in open procedures.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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