PURPOSE: Laparoscopic-assisted sigmoidectomy is an attractive but sometimes challenging operative technique for the treatment of diverticulitis of the sigmoid colon. The aim of this study was to compare, with respect to early postoperative analgesic demand and postoperative pain, laparoscopic-assisted sigmoidectomy with a laparoscopic-facilitated technique. In the laparascopic-facilitated technique, the sigmoid colon is removed conventionally via a cosmetically inconspicuous incision after prior laparoscopic mobilization.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients subjected to elective sigmoidectomy for diverticulitis were randomized to either laparoscopic-assisted or laparoscopic-facilitated sigmoidectomy. All patients had piritramide-based, patient-controlled analgesia. The cumulative postoperative consumption over 96 hours was defined as the primary end point. Postoperative pain, fatigue, pulmonary function, and resumption of bowel function were secondary endpoints.
RESULTS: Forty-five patients were randomized according to the protocol to laparoscopic-assisted sigmoidectomy (n = 22) or laparoscopic-facilitated sigmoidectomy (n = 23). The analgesic consumption between the two groups was equivalent (61.3 (9-171) mg piritramide/96 hours vs. 64.3 (18-150) mg piritramide/96 hours; P = 0.827). Patients with laparoscopic-assisted sigmoidectomy had lower pain levels on Day one and Day two. Cumulative pain levels over 96 hours and over the whole 7-day observation period, however, were not significantly different, although postoperative fatigue and pulmonary function were significantly different. Duration of surgery was slightly shorter for laparoscopic-assisted sigmoidectomy (127 (47-200) vs. 135 (60-239) minutes; P = 0.28), but recovery of bowel activity was faster after laparoscopic-facilitated surgery. There was no significant difference in morbidity.
CONCLUSION: Overall, the postoperative outcome was roughly equivalent after both techniques of laparoscopic sigmoidectomy. Therefore, laparoscopic-facilitated sigmoidectomy could be considered as an alternative to laparoscopic-assisted sigmoidectomy in technically difficult cases of diverticulitis subjected to laparoscopic surgery.