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JSLS. 2007 Apr-Jun;11(2):235-7.

Laparoscopic reduction of intussusception: an evolving therapeutic option.

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Southwind Surgical Sevices, Hays, Kansas 67106, USA.



Intussusception (IS) is a common cause of bowel obstruction in the pediatric population. Traditionally, unsuccessful hydrostatic reduction has been followed by laparotomy. With the advent of minimally invasive surgery, centers have adopted laparoscopic reduction as a surgical option. We reviewed our experience with IS and investigated whether there were any advantages to performing laparoscopy over conventional laparotomy in unsuccessful air enema reduction (AE).


All the records of patients admitted from January 2001 to August 2004 with a diagnosis of IS (diagnosis code 560.0) were reviewed. Parameters investigated included age, sex, weight, radiological intervention, operative procedure, length of stay (LOS), and days to oral intake (p.o.). Statistical analysis was performed with the 2-tailed t test to compare outcomes and Fisher's exact test to assess differences in nominal frequencies.


Seventeen males and 9 females diagnosed with IS were identified. The mean age was 2.5 years (range, 1 month to 14 years), and the average weight was 5.65 kg (range, 4.65 to 95). Twenty-three of the 26 patients (88.5%) underwent AE reduction, with success in 13 (57%). One recurred after initial successful AE, 9 failed multiple attempts at AE, and 2 attempted reductions were complicated by perforations. Fifteen patients underwent surgical reduction for unsuccessful AE or to address a pathological lead point. The success rate of laparoscopic reduction was 85%. The average time to resumption of p.o. intake for patients with successful AE was 0.5 days, and after laparoscopic reduction, the average time to p.o. intake was 1.5 days, while it was 4 days after laparotomy (P=0.05). After laparoscopic reduction, the average LOS was 6 days, but LOS was 7 days after laparotomy (P=0.66).


Many children who present with IS can be treated by AE. In patients who fail AE, laparoscopy offers a safe, effective alternative to laparotomy.

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