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Outcomes of laparoscopic resection of Meckel's diverticulum are equivalent to open laparotomy.

PURPOSE: Meckel's diverticulum (MD) is a common congenital anomaly caused by failure of involution of the omphalomesenteric duct. Enthusiasm for minimally invasive surgery (MIS) in children has burgeoned as technologies have advanced, but the outcomes of laparoscopic resection in comparison to open laparotomy for MD remain poorly defined. We queried a large national database to compare current practice patterns and clinical outcomes between surgical approaches for MD in the pediatric population.

METHODS: The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program-Pediatric (NSQIP-Ped) database was queried for patients undergoing surgical intervention for MD (2011-2014). Patients were stratified by surgical approach. Baseline characteristics, intraoperative variables, and perioperative complications were compared by univariate analysis using Pearson's χ2 test for categorical variables and Kruskall-Wallis test for continuous variables. Primary outcomes of interest were length of stay (LOS), rate of readmission, and 30-day mortality. Secondary outcomes included operative time, anesthesia time, postoperative complications, and rates of reoperation.

RESULTS: A total of 148 cases of MD were identified, of which 73 (49.3%) were initially managed with a laparoscopic approach and 75 (50.7%) were managed with an open approach. We found a high rate of conversion from laparoscopy to an open approach (20/73 or 27.4%). The median age of the laparoscopic group was higher than the open group (8.3 vs. 2.5years, p<0.001). Operative and anesthesia time, LOS, 30-day mortality, post-operative complications, and rates of reoperation and readmission were similar between groups (all p>0.05).

CONCLUSION: Nearly half of all resections for MD in children are now approached laparoscopically. This approach has equivalent outcomes to traditional open laparotomy. More widespread use of a hybrid approach with laparoscopy and exteriorization of the small bowel through an extended port site may facilitate avoiding open laparotomy. Routine conversion to open for palpation of the MD or segmental small bowel resection should be avoided in the absence of compelling intra-operative findings or operative complications.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level III (retrospective comparative study).

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