Long-term experience with the laparoscopic approach to perforated diverticulitis plus generalized peritonitis

Morris E Franklin, Guillermo Portillo, Jorge M Treviño, John J Gonzalez, Jeffrey L Glass
World Journal of Surgery 2008, 32 (7): 1507-11

BACKGROUND: The treatment of perforated diverticulitis is changing form the current standard of laparotomy with resection, Hartmann procedure, and colostomy to a minimally invasive technique. In patients with complicated acute diverticulitis and peritonitis without gross fecal contamination, laparoscopic peritoneal lavage, inspection of the colon, and intraoperative drain placement of the peritoneal cavity appears to alleviate morbidity and improve the outcome. In this article, we report our experience of a laparoscopic peritoneal lavage technique with delayed definitive resection when necessary.

METHOD AND MATERIALS: Records of patients who underwent intraoperative peritoneal lavage for purulent diverticulitis at the Texas Endosurgery Institute from April 1991 to September 2006 were retrospectively reviewed.

RESULTS: Forty patients were included in the study, with a male/female ratio of 26:14. The average age was 60 years. Many had associated co-morbidities. The average operating time was 62 minutes. There were no conversions to an open procedure. Apart from mild postoperative paralytic ileus in six patients and chest infections in two, there were no significant peroperative or postoperative complications. Just over 50% underwent elective interval laparoscopic sigmoid colectomy. During the mean follow-up of 96 months, none of the other patients required further surgical intervention.

CONCLUSION: Laparoscopic lavage of the peritoneal cavity and drainage is a safe alternative to the current standard of treatment for the management of perforated diverticulitis with or without gross fecal contamination. It is associated with a decrease in the overall cost of treatment; the use of a colostomy is avoided; patient improvement is immediate; and there is a reduction in mortality and morbidity as definitive laparoscopic resection can be performed in a nonemergent fashion. Perhaps the most important benefit, other than avoiding a colostomy, is the association of fewer wound complications such as dehiscence, wound infection, and the high risk of hernia formation. Laparoscopic lavage and drainage should be considered in all patients in whom medical and/or percutaneous treatment is not feasible. It carries minimal morbidity and should be considered the standard of care.

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