OBJECTIVE: To evaluate surgical outcomes for gynecologic surgery performed by single-incision laparoscopy compared with conventional multi-incision laparoscopy.
DATA SOURCES: We searched MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and clinicaltrials.gov through August 2012. We also screened reference lists of retrieved articles and manually searched abstracts from conference proceedings.
METHODS OF STUDY SELECTION: We included randomized control trials (RCTs) and high-quality observational studies that compared outcomes for single-incision laparoscopy and conventional laparoscopy for gynecologic surgery in patients. Included studies met predefined quality criteria and reported, at minimum, on complications, conversions, and operative time.
TABULATION, INTEGRATION, RESULTS: Six RCTs and 15 observational studies met inclusion criteria, with a total of 2,085 patients (899 single-incision laparoscopies and 1,186 conventional laparoscopies). In the pooled analysis, there was no significant difference in the risk of total complications between single-incision laparoscopy and conventional laparoscopy groups (relative risk 1.01, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.72–1.40; P=.97, random effects model). The meta-analysis was powered to detect a 5% difference in complications (power=0.8, alpha=0.05). Mean operative time for adnexal surgery performed by single-incision laparoscopy was 6.97 minutes longer than conventional laparoscopy (95% CI 0.16–13.77; P=.045; I2=47.2; random effects based on three RCTs). There was no significant difference in mean operative time for hysterectomy procedures performed by single-incision laparoscopy (8.29 minutes, 95% CI −5.85 to 22.43; P=.251; I2=83.6; random effects based on three RCTs). Clinical outcomes of postoperative pain, change in hemoglobin, length of hospital stay, and scar cosmesis could not be pooled because of paucity of data and lack of uniform reporting.
CONCLUSION: There was no difference in the risk of complications between single-incision laparoscopy and conventional laparoscopy approaches in gynecologic surgery. Studies with imprecise effect sizes suggest that single-incision laparoscopy may have longer operative time for adnexal surgery, but not for hysterectomy. Effects on other surgical outcomes remain uncertain.