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Surg Endosc. 2006 Dec;20(12):1883-6.

Laparoscopically assisted reversal of Hartmann's procedure.

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Department of General Surgery and Transplantation, Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, Israel.



Restoration of bowel continuity after Hartmann's procedure is a major surgical procedure associated with substantial morbidity and occasional mortality. The authors review their experience with laparoscopically assisted reversal of Hartmann's procedure (LARH) to assess difficulties and potential advantages associated with this procedure.


A retrospective chart review of a prospectively entered database was performed to identify patients who underwent LARH over a period of 7 years. Data regarding demographic and clinical characteristics, surgical details, and postoperative course were reviewed. Specifically, age, gender, diagnosis at initial operation, American Society of Anesthesiology (ASA) score, comorbidities, operative time, conversion, surgical team, complications, postoperative bowel movements, and hospital stay were assessed. All surgeries were performed by six experienced laparoscopic surgeons.


A total of 27 patients, 17 men and 10 women, with mean ages of 58.1 and 62.9 years, respectively, underwent LARH. The procedure was laparoscopically completed for 23 patients. Conversion to laparotomy was required for four patients (14.8%) because of dense adhesions after the initial Hartmann's procedure in three patients and rectal perforation in one patient. The median operative time was 226 min, and the median hospital stay was 6 days. The overall morbidity rate was 33% (9 patients), attributable to colostomy site infection in 5 of the 9 patients. One patient required reoperation because of intraabdominal bleeding. No anastomotic leaks or intraabdominal abscesses were recorded. There was no operative mortality.


Laparoscopically assisted reversal of Hartmann's procedure is technically challenging and time consuming. However, in the hands of experienced laparoscopic surgeons, it is safe and associated with a reasonably low conversion rate. Furthermore, the relatively low morbidity rate, short hospital stay, and earlier return of bowel function may be beneficial to patients.

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