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The Role of Laparoscopy in Trauma: A Ten-Year Review of Diagnosis and Therapeutics

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Minimally invasive surgery has found many applications in general surgery. The role of laparoscopy in trauma has been debated as a diagnostic, as well as therapeutic, tool in hemodynamically stable patients. This study evaluated laparoscopy in the trauma population. A retrospective review of all laparoscopies performed in hemodynamically stable trauma patients from 1996 until 2006 was conducted. Mechanisms of injury, perioperative data, and demographic variables were analyzed using descriptive statistics and Student's t test. Exploratory diagnostic laparoscopy was performed on 102 patients. Laparoscopy was negative for 65 per cent of patients; 12 per cent of these were converted to laparotomy due to adhesions, hemoperitoneum, or surgeon preference. None of the conversions revealed intra-abdominal injury at laparotomy. An injury was diagnosed at laparoscopy in the remaining 35 per cent, with 55 per cent conversion rate to repair the injury. Therapeutic laparoscopy included serosal repair, hemorrhage control, diaphragmatic repair, and other standard laparoscopic treatments. No patient required re-exploration, there were no missed injuries or other complications, and no patient died in this study. Laparoscopy has an important diagnostic and therapeutic role in selected hemodynamically stable trauma patients. Using a minimally invasive approach can reduce the potential morbidity of negative laparotomy.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: From the Department of Surgery, University of Tennessee Medical Center at Knoxville, Knoxville, Tennessee

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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