To describe our surgical techniques for successful completion of laparoscopic-assisted segmental colectomy. We reviewed the important preoperative, operative, and postoperative factors that should be considered for laparoscopic resection of the right, left, and sigmoid colon. The current indications for laparoscopic-assisted colectomy include most benign colonic conditions (such as colorectal polyps, rectal prolapse, diverticular disease, and colonic lipomas). Laparoscopic procedures for malignant disease, however, are currently reserved for prospective trials and palliation of patients with stage IV colonic cancer because the adequacy of staging and lymphatic resection remains questionable. Patients who are appropriate candidates for laparoscopic-assisted colectomy should be counseled about the potential benefits, risks, and possible need for conversion to an open surgical procedure—a decision that should be considered application of sound surgical judgment rather than a failure. For laparoscopic-assisted colectomy, we prefer to use the closed technique for establishing a pneumoperitoneum. We use a two-surgeon, four-cannula approach for resections of the right and left colon and a three-surgeon, five-cannula technique for resections of the sigmo id colon. Laparoscopic techniques are used to mobilize the bowel and divide the principal blood supply; the resection and anastomosis are performed extracorporeally, with use of a small incision. The associated morbidity and mortality rates are comparable to those for conventional open procedures. Despite a shortened period of ileus and fewer hospital days, the total costs for laparoscopic colectomy have been equivalent to those for standard colectomy. This result has generally been due to longer operative times, which should decrease with additional experience.
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