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Intraoperative abdominal ultrasonography

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Background: Ultrasonography during abdominal surgery has been reported since the 1960s, but its use did not become widespread until the recent availability of high-frequency, high-resolution transducers. This review discusses the application of intraoperative ultrasonography to open and laparoscopic abdominal surgery.

Methods: A literature search (Medline) was undertaken. All papers pertaining to the subject matter that were located were included in the review.

Results: Intraoperative ultrasonography influences surgical strategy in up to 50 per cent of liver resections for malignancy. It is the single most sensitive technique for the detection of occult hepatic metastases at the time of primary colorectal resection. In pancreatic surgery, intraoperative ultrasonography is of value in the localization of islet cell tumours and in the assessment of resectability of adenocarcinoma. The technique may also have a role in staging laparoscopy, and in the operative management of kidney and gastrointestinal diseases.

Conclusion: Ultrasonography is an ideal operative tool as it is safe, reproducible and requires no special patient preparation or positioning. It should be regarded as an essential component of major hepatobiliary and pancreatic procedures. The recent availability of flexible laparoscopic probes is likely to lead to a similar impact on minimal access surgery.
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Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Division of Surgery, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woodville Road, Woodville South, South Australia, Australia

Publication date: January 1, 1999

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