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Factors and consequences of conversion in laparoscopic sigmoidectomy for diverticular disease

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The disadvantages of laparoscopic elective sigmoidectomy for diverticular disease include the risk of conversion to open operation and longer operative time. The aim of this study was to analyse the causes and consequences of conversion in 168 consecutive patients who underwent a laparoscopically assisted colectomy between January 1994 and June 2001.


Data were collected prospectively to analyse the causes and consequences of conversion to open surgery in terms of postoperative morbidity and patient recovery.


Postoperative mortality, morbidity, conversion and reoperation rates were zero, 21·4 per cent (n = 36), 14·3 per cent (n = 24) and 3·0 per cent (n = 5) respectively. The reasons for conversion were presence of intraperitoneal adhesions and/or inflammatory pseudotumour (n = 21), an intraoperative diagnosis of sigmoid cancer (n = 1), hypercapnia (n = 1) and abdominal bleeding (n = 1). Three preoperative factors were associated with a significant higher risk of conversion: surgical expertise, the presence of sigmoid stenosis or fistula, and the severity of diverticulitis on pathological examination. Morbidity was no different between laparoscopic sigmoidectomy (30 of 144; 20·8 per cent) and converted procedures (six of 24; 25·0 per cent). Open conversion was associated with a longer operative time and significantly delayed patient recovery and hospital discharge.


Surgical experience and severe diverticular disease are predictive factors for conversion in laparoscopic elective sigmoidectomy. Even if necessary, conversion does not increase the morbidity rate. Copyright © 2003 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Chirurgie Digestive A, Hôpital Carémeau, Nîmes, Nîmes; France 2: Chirurgie Digestive C, Hôpital Saint Eloi, Montpellier, France 3: Département d'information médicale, Hôpital Lapeyronie, Montpellier, France

Publication date: February 1, 2003

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