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Dis Colon Rectum. 2004 May;47(5):753-65. Epub 2004 Apr 13.

Hand-assisted laparoscopic colectomy: evolution to a clinically useful technique.

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Minimally Invasive & Telerobotic Surgery, Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, New Jersey 07601, USA.



Hand-assisted laparoscopic colectomy has traversed three phases of distinct development. This review was designed to trace the evolution of hand-assisted colectomy from an infrequently used technique to a clinically useful surgical approach to diseases of the colon and rectum.


This review compiles previously reported and published experiences with hand-assisted laparoscopic colectomy.


During the first phase of development of hand-assisted laparoscopic colectomy, surgeons explored what could be accomplished by a hand inserted into the abdomen through the specimen extraction site as an adjunct to laparoscopic techniques. Case reports and small trials found that manually assisted laparoscopic techniques permitted more rapid completion of laparoscopic-assisted colectomies. In the second phase, surgeons used early devices that facilitated the insertion of the surgeon's hand into the abdomen and helped to maintain the pneumoperitoneum. Larger series and small, randomized trials indicated a time-saving advantage to hand-assisted techniques and similar short-term outcomes as laparoscopic-assisted colectomies. In the current third phase, surgeons are using a new generation of hand-access devices that extend the options for hand-assisted techniques. These devices, like earlier devices, facilitate hand insertion, protect the wound, act as the retrieval site for the specimen, and serve as the portal for construction of extracorporeal anastomoses. In addition, these new devices can serve as laparoscopic trocar sites. This permits selective use of hand-assisted and laparoscopic-assisted techniques at various times in the same operation. These new devices have not undergone clinical trials, and therefore, a final appraisal must await future publication of outcomes.


Hand-assisted laparoscopic colectomy has evolved into a clinically useful surgical technique. New devices facilitate the performance of these operations and permit the surgeon to switch between hand-assisted and laparoscopic techniques.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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