The possibility of predicting the presence of intra-abdominal adhesions in post-surgical patients undergoing further laparotomy or laparoscopy is of great interest for the general and laparoscopic surgeon. Inadvertent enterotomy during re-laparotomy or trocar insertion is a feared complication with a significant associated morbidity and mortality occurring in 20% in open surgery and between 1% and 100% in laparoscopy.
Materials and methods
Sonographic study of the visceral slide (i.e. the “back and forth” movement of the peritoneal layer in rhythm with respiration in relation to the steady inner fascial layer) was the hallmark for free access to the peritoneal cavity. In 60 consecutive patients, aged 28–77, who had previously undergone open abdominal surgery, pre-operative ultrasound (US) was performed on Aloka 5.500 device (Aloka, Tokyo, Japan) using convex and linear multifrequency probes.
The possibility of safely performing trans-umbilical open laparoscopy (TUOL) was US evaluated in 35 (58.3%) patients scheduled for various abdominal laparoscopic procedures. This approach was successfully performed in 26 patients (74.3%). In 2 (5.7%) it was attempted but had to be changed due to the presence of previously undetected adhesions. In 7 patients (20%) pneumoperitoneum was induced by means of a Veress needle positioned in the upper left quadrant due to the presence of midline adhesions, which were confirmed after trocar insertion.
Among the remaining 25 patients who underwent re-laparotomy (41.6%), incision was performed outside the midline in 8 patients (32%) due to the presence of suspected midline adhesions, which were confirmed in 6 patients (24%).
In this study, pre-operative US evaluation showed a diagnostic accuracy of 93.3%.
Keywords: Abdominal ultrasound, Laparoscopy, Adhesions