Background: The role of minimally invasive surgery in complicated diverticulitis is still being elucidated. The aim of this study was to compare short-term outcomes in patients undergoing minimally invasive surgery for complicated or uncomplicated diverticular disease. Methods: All patients who had elective minimally invasive surgery for diverticulitis between 2003 and 2008 were identified from a prospectively maintained database. Complicated disease was defined as diverticulitis associated with abscess, fistula, stricture or bleeding. Univariable analysis was performed to compare safety and short-term outcomes in patients with complicated and uncomplicated diverticulitis. Results: A total of 361 patients (136 with complicated and 225 with uncomplicated diverticulitis) were operated on with either a laparoscopic (36·0 per cent) or a hand-assisted laparoscopic (64·0 per cent) surgical technique. There were no significant differences between the groups with respect to age, sex, body mass index, laparoscopic approach, postoperative recovery protocol or previous open surgery. Conversion rates were similar for complicated and uncomplicated disease (14·0 versus 11·6 per cent respectively; P = 0·514). There was no difference between the groups with respect to return of bowel function (mean 3·1 versus 3·2 days respectively; P = 0·156), morbidity (27·9 versus 19·6 per cent; P = 0·070) or mean length of stay (5·4 versus 4·8 days; P = 0·186). There were no deaths within 30 days. Conclusion: Elective minimally invasive colectomy is feasible for patients with uncomplicated and complicated diverticulitis, with equivalent outcomes.
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