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Intra-Abdominal Lesions Could be Missed by Inadequate Laparoscopy

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Laparoscopic resection has become one of the choices for colectomy for various colon and rectal diseases in recent years. Despite some uncertainties of laparoscopic procedures, especially during cancer surgery, its popularity has forced surgeons to pursue the approach. One of the concerns is inadequate examination of the intra-abdominal organs with a laparoscope. This study is a retrospective analysis of a single surgeon's experience of the frequencies of unexpected findings during laparotomies. From July 1990 to November 2005, 2775 patients with various colorectal diseases receiving laparotomies by a single surgeon were analyzed. Among them, 2282 patients were operated for primary colorectal cancer. Excluded were patients who did not receive a formal laparotomy, who had a recent laparotomy, who had peritoneal and omental metastasis, and whose pathology did not attract attention for management. Exploration of the entire peritoneal cavity was performed for all cases in the series. There were 1423 males and 1352 females. Ages ranged from 12 to 94 years, averaging 62.6-years-old. Forty-six patients (1.7%) were found to have unexpected intra-abdominal lesions during laparotomies. Eleven patients were found to have synchronous colorectal cancers; five patients were found to have unexpected liver metastases; three patients each were found to have gastric cancers, stromal tumors of the small bowel, and ectopic pancreas; two patients each were found to have gastric leiomyosarcomas, pancreatic cancers, mucoceles of the appendix, ulcers of the small intestine, bleeding Meckel's diverticula, pancreatitis, and perforations of the ileum; one patient each was found to have gall bladder cancer, malignant carcinoid tumor, pheochromocytoma, diverticulitis of the jejunum, diverticulitis of the colon, duplication of the colon, and aortic aneurysm larger than 6 cm. Forty-one of the lesions were likely to be missed by laparoscope. This experience suggests that incomplete laparotomies might miss various pathologies. Laparoscopy is not a complete form of laparotomy because of loss of tactile sensation. Laparoscopy might result in an inadequate or inappropriate management due to misdiagnosis.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: From the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery, Department of Surgery, Taipei Mackay Memorial Hospital, and the Department of Surgery, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan

Publication date: 01 September 2008

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