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Chirurg. 2000 May;71(5):518-23.

[Laparoscopy in small bowel ileus].

[Article in German]

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Klinik und Poliklinik für Allgemeinchirurgie, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen.


Today laparoscopic procedures are routinely performed in patients with intestinal adhesions from previous abdominal surgery. Does laparoscopy have a potential benefit in acute small-bowel obstruction? Theoretically, a lower rate of wound complications and incisional hernias, as well as less subsequent adhesions with a lower incidence of recurrent intestinal obstruction, can be expected. However, laparoscopy is successful in only 50-70% of selected patients, thereby representing the highest rate of conversion in minimally invasive surgery. Laparoscopic management of severe abdominal distension with massively dilated and fragile small-bowel or dense adhesions is extremely difficult even when performed by experienced surgeons. Significantly prolonged operating time, the high risk of bowel injury (> 6-10%) and an increased frequency of early reoperations jeopardize the patient's safe outcome. However, in strictly selected patients the laparoscopic approach may be promising. In acute intestinal obstruction without a history of previous abdominal surgery, laparoscopy is--in the absence of adhesions--an excellent diagnostic tool and may also be a successful therapeutic modality in a variety of bowel-obstruction etiologies. Furthermore, the laparoscopic option should be considered in patients who previously had undergone small laparotomies (e.g., appendectomy) or laparoscopic surgery. We recommend "postlaparoscopic" intestinal obstruction as the ideal case for laparoscopic reexploration. Incarcerated hernias at the site of trocar insertion or adhesions due to peritoneal tears are easily identified as the cause of obstruction and successfully cured with the laparoscope. In conclusion, we advocate the laparoscopic approach in acute small-bowel obstruction exclusively for selected patients. Clinical studies are required to define appropriate surgical indications objectively.

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