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Predictors of Failure of the Laparoscopic Approach for the Management of Small Bowel Obstruction

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Small bowel obstruction (SBO) is a common cause of hospital admission. Our objective is to determine variables that correlate with failure of the laparoscopic approach for SBO. Twenty-three consecutive patients underwent diagnostic laparoscopy with curative intent for treatment of SBO by a single surgeon over a 3-year period. The laparoscopic approach was successful in 18 patients (78%); there were five (22%) conversions to laparotomy. The causes of obstruction included adhesive band in 16 patients; and small bowel lymphoma, metastatic esophageal cancer, small bowel gangrene, Meckel diverticulum, gallstones ileus, and incarcerated incisional hernia in two. Using the Fisher two-sided test, no significant predictor for conversion was identified using gender, American Society of Anesthesiologists class, previous bowel obstruction, history of adhesiolysis, abdominal distention, pelvic surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, malignancy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, coronary artery disease, hypertension, or hypercholesterolenemia. The Wilcoxon two-sided test did not show significance for age, weight, number of previous abdominal surgeries, or small bowel diameter. The postoperative hospital stay was significantly shorter in the laparoscopic group compared with those who needed conversion (3 vs 9 days) with P = 0.0019. No mortality was noted in any patients. The laparoscopic is safe and feasible for the management of SBO. We believe that the laparoscopic approach should be offered to all patients with SBO unless there is an absolute contraindication to laparoscopic surgery.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Division of Minimally Invasive Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Florida College of Medicine-Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Florida, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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