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Pediatr Surg Int. 2010 Apr;26(4):413-8. doi: 10.1007/s00383-010-2555-z. Epub 2010 Feb 17.

Contribution of laparoscopy in the abdominal tuberculosis diagnosis: retrospective study of about 11 cases.

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Paediatric Surgery Department, Fattouma Bourguiba Hospital, Monastir, Tunisia.



Abdominal tuberculosis is one of the most frequent extra-pulmonary localizations. Its diagnosis is difficult and may lead to a delayed prescription of specific treatment. This study is aimed at stressing the role of laparoscopy associated with a biopsy in the diagnostic confirmation of abdominal tuberculosis particularly in doubtful cases.


The diagnostic features of 11 cases hospitalized for abdominal tuberculosis in the Paediatric Surgery Department of Fattouma Bourguiba Hospital in Monastir for a 6-year period (2001-2006), were evaluated retrospectively. The diagnosis of abdominal tuberculosis was substantiated histopathologically by laparoscopy in all cases. The epidemiological and clinical characteristics along with the laboratory, radiological and histological data were studied.


Eleven cases of abdominal tuberculosis with a mean age of 5.6 years were diagnosed. It was peritoneal tuberculosis in all cases and associated with intestinal localization in one case. A conversion to laparotomy was practiced in three patients: appendicular plastron in one case, pseudo-tumor aspect of an intestinal loop in another case and because of their pathological aspect appendicectomy and caecum biopsy in the third. The diagnosis was confirmed histologically by biopsies in nine cases and on excision pieces in the other two cases. All patients had an uneventful course with an antituberculosis treatment.


Abdominal tuberculosis is still frequent in Tunisia. Because of its non-specific clinical presentation and the limited means of investigation, a laparoscopy with biopsy should be practiced as first line diagnostic tool in case of doubtful abdominal tuberculosis. The earlier the diagnosis is established and an adapted antituberculosis treatment is started, the better the prognosis is.

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