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1.  Results of the introduction of a minimally invasive esophagectomy program in a tertiary referral center 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2012;4(5):467-473.
Esophagectomy is accompanied by a high postoperative complication rate. Minimally invasive esophageal surgery appears to be a promising technique that might be associated with a lower pulmonary morbidity rate. The objective of this study was to describe the implementation of minimally invasive esophageal surgery in a tertiary referral center and to compare the results of our first series of minimally invasive esophagectomies (MIE) to conventional open esophagectomies.
MIE was implemented after several procedures had been proctored by a surgeon with extensive experience with MIE. Preoperative characteristics and the postoperative course of patients who underwent a transthoracic esophagectomy were prospectively registered. Morbidity and overall hospital stay were compared between minimally invasive and open resections performed in the same period.
A total of 90 consecutive esophageal cancer patients underwent a transthoracic resection, 41 patients by means of a minimally invasive approach. Preoperative characteristics were comparable for both groups. The duration of surgery was longer in the MIE group (6.0 vs. 5.2 hours, P<0.001) and median blood loss was lower [100 vs. 500 mL (P<0.001)]. There was only a trend towards a shorter hospital stay in the MIE group (11 vs. 13 days, P=0.072), pulmonary complications occurred in 20% of patients in the MIE group vs. 31% in the open group (P=0.229). The overall complication rate was 51% in the MIE group vs. 63% in the open group, P=0.249.
Implementation of MIE in our center was successful and it appears to be a safe technique for patients with potentially curable esophageal carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3461068  PMID: 23050110
Esophageal cancer; surgical technical; complications; thoracoscopy
3.  Minimally invasive esophagectomy: current status and future direction 
Surgical Endoscopy  2012;26(6):1794.
PMCID: PMC3351620  PMID: 22234588
4.  Review of current classifications for diverticular disease and a translation into clinical practice 
Diverticular disease of the sigmoid colon prevails in Western society. Its presentation may vary greatly per individual patient, from symptomatic diverticulosis to perforated diverticulitis. Since publication of the original Hinchey classification, several modifications and new grading systems have been developed. Yet, new insights in the natural history of the disease, the emergence of the computed tomography scan, and new treatment modalities plead for evolving classifications.
This article reviews all current classifications for diverticular disease.
A three-stage model is advanced for a renewed and comprehensive classification system for diverticular disease, incorporating up-to-date imaging and treatment modalities.
PMCID: PMC3267934  PMID: 21928041
Diverticulitis; Diverticular disease; Classification
5.  Deep infiltrating endometriosis of the bowel: MR imaging as a method to predict muscular invasion 
Abdominal Imaging  2011;37(4):549-557.
To evaluate magnetic resonance (MR) imaging morphologic- and signal intensity abnormalities of deep infiltrating endometriosis (DIE) of the bowel wall and to assess its value in predicting depth and extent of bowel wall infiltration.
Materials and methods
This single-center study was performed in a tertiary referral center for endometriosis. All patients (n = 28) who underwent segmental bowel resection (2004–2010) were retrospectively studied. MR images were analyzed by two experienced readers independently (number of lesions, location, size, signal intensity, and depth of bowel wall infiltration) and this was correlated with histopathology.
The sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, and accuracy for diagnosis of endometriosis infiltrating the muscular layer of the bowel were 100%, 75%, 96%, 100%, and 96%, respectively. The inter-rater agreement was 0.84. “Fan shaped” configurations with hypointensity on T2- and T1-weighted imaging were characteristic for thickening of indigenous smooth muscle and smooth muscle hyperplasia at histopathology, as a consequence of infiltration by endometriosis. Thickening of the (sub)mucosa corresponded to edema with or without infiltration of endometriosis.
MR imaging at 1.5 Tesla is useful to predict muscular infiltration of the bowel in endometriosis, whereas it is of limited value in diagnosis of (sub)mucosal infiltration.
PMCID: PMC3387499  PMID: 21822742
Magnetic resonance imaging; Deep infiltrating endometriosis; Bowel involvement; Segmental bowel resection; Endometriosis
6.  Traditional invasive vs. minimally invasive esophagectomy: a multi-center, randomized trial (TIME-trial) 
BMC Surgery  2011;11:2.
There is a rise in incidence of esophageal carcinoma due to increasing incidence of adenocarcinoma. Probably the only curative option to date is the use of neoadjuvant therapy followed by surgical resection. Traditional open esophageal resection is associated with a high morbidity and mortality rate. Furthermore, this approach involves long intensive care unit stay, in-hospital stay and long recovery period. Minimally invasive esophagectomy could reduce the morbidity and accelerate the post-operative recovery.
Comparison between traditional open and minimally invasive esophagectomy in a multi-center, randomized trial. Patients with a resectable intrathoracic esophageal carcinoma, including the gastro-esophageal junction tumors (Siewert I) are eligible for inclusion. Prior thoracic surgery and cervical esophageal carcinoma are indications for exclusion. The surgical technique involves a right thoracotomy with lung blockade and laparotomy either with a cervical or thoracic anastomosis for the traditional group. The minimally invasive procedure involves a right thoracoscopy in prone position with a single lumen tube and laparoscopy either with a cervical or thoracic anastomosis. All patients in both groups will undergo identical pre-operative and post-operative protocol. Primary endpoint of this study are post-operative respiratory complications within the first two post-operative weeks confirmed by clinical, radiological and sputum culture data. Secondary endpoints are the operative data, the post-operative data and oncological data such as quality of the specimen and survival. Operative data include duration of the operation, blood loss and conversion to open procedure. Post-operative data include morbidity (major and minor), quality of life tests and hospital stay.
Based on current literature and the experience of all participating centers, an incidence of pulmonary complications for 57% in the traditional arm and 29% in the minimally invasive arm, it is estimated that per arm 48 patients are needed. This is based on a two-sided significance level (alpha) of 0.05 and a power of 0.80. Knowing that approximately 20% of the patients will be excluded, we will randomize 60 patients per arm.
The TIME-trial is a prospective, multi-center, randomized study to define the role of minimally invasive esophageal resection in patients with resectable intrathoracic and junction esophageal cancer.
Trial registration (Netherlands Trial Register)
PMCID: PMC3031195  PMID: 21226918
7.  A multicenter randomized clinical trial investigating the cost-effectiveness of treatment strategies with or without antibiotics for uncomplicated acute diverticulitis (DIABOLO trial) 
BMC Surgery  2010;10:23.
Conservative treatment of uncomplicated or mild diverticulitis usually includes antibiotic therapy. It is, however, uncertain whether patients with acute diverticulitis indeed benefit from antibiotics. In most guidelines issued by professional organizations antibiotics are considered mandatory in the treatment of mild diverticulitis. This advice lacks evidence and is merely based on experts' opinion. Adverse effects of the use of antibiotics are well known, including allergic reactions, development of bacterial resistance to antibiotics and other side-effects.
A randomized multicenter pragmatic clinical trial comparing two treatment strategies for uncomplicated acute diverticulitis. I) A conservative strategy with antibiotics: hospital admission, supportive measures and at least 48 hours of intravenous antibiotics which subsequently are switched to oral, if tolerated (for a total duration of antibiotic treatment of 10 days). II) A liberal strategy without antibiotics: admission only if needed on clinical grounds, supportive measures only. Patients are eligible for inclusion if they have a diagnosis of acute uncomplicated diverticulitis as demonstrated by radiological imaging. Only patients with stages 1a and 1b according to Hinchey's classification or "mild" diverticulitis according to the Ambrosetti criteria are included. The primary endpoint is time-to-full recovery within a 6-month follow-up period. Full recovery is defined as being discharged from the hospital, with a return to pre-illness activities, and VAS score below 4 without the use of daily pain medication. Secondary endpoints are proportion of patients who develop complicated diverticulitis requiring surgery or non-surgical intervention, morbidity, costs, health-related quality of life, readmission rate and acute diverticulitis recurrence rate. In a non-inferiority design 264 patients are needed in each study arm to detect a difference in time-to-full recovery of 5 days or more with a power of 85% and a confidence level of 95%. With an estimated one percent of patients lost to follow up, a total of 533 patients will be included.
A clinically relevant difference of more than 5 days in time-to-full recovery between the two treatment strategies is not expected. The liberal strategy without antibiotics and without the strict requirement for hospital admission is anticipated to be more a more cost-effective approach.
Trial registration
Trial registration number: NCT01111253
PMCID: PMC2919453  PMID: 20646266
8.  Current surgical treatment of diverticular disease in the Netherlands 
AIM: To evaluate the development of diagnostic tools, indications for surgery and treatment modalities concerning diverticular disease (DD) in the Netherlands.
METHODS: Data were collected from 100 patients who underwent surgery for DD in three Dutch hospitals. All hospitals used the same standardized database. The collected data included patient demographics, patient history, type of surgery and complications. Patients were divided into two groups, one undergoing elective surgery (elective group) and the other undergoing acute surgery (acute group).
RESULTS: Two hundred and ninety-nine patients were admitted between 2000 and 2007. One hundred and seventy-eight patients underwent acute surgery and 121 patients received elective operations. The median age of the 121 patients was 69 years (range: 28-94 years), significantly higher in acute patients (P = 0.010). Laparoscopic resection was performed in 31% of elective patients. In the acute setting, 61% underwent a Hartmann procedure. The overall morbidity and mortality were 51% and 10%, and 60% and 16% in the acute group, which were significantly higher than in the elective group (36% and 1%). Only 35% of the temporary ostomies were restored.
CONCLUSION: This study gives a picture of current surgical practice for DD in the Netherlands. New developments are implemented in daily practice, resulting in acceptable morbidity and mortality rates.
PMCID: PMC2852822  PMID: 20380006
Diverticulitis; Surgery; Diverticular disease
9.  Reply to: ‘Re: “The invisible cholecystectomy”’ 
Surgical Endoscopy  2008;22(7):1739-1740.
PMCID: PMC2422864  PMID: 18443864
10.  Total Laparoscopic Restorative Proctocolectomy: Are There Advantages Compared with the Open and Hand-Assisted Approaches? 
Diseases of the Colon and Rectum  2008;51(5):541-548.
A randomized, controlled trial comparing hand-assisted laparoscopic restorative proctocolectomy with open surgery did not show an advantage for the laparoscopic approach. The trial was criticized because hand-assisted laparoscopic restorative proctocolectomy was not considered a true laparoscopic proctocolectomy. The objective of the present study was to assess whether total laparoscopic restorative proctocolectomy has advantages over hand-assisted laparoscopic restorative proctocolectomy with respect to early recovery.
Thirty-five patients underwent total laparoscopic restorative proctocolectomy and were compared to 60 patients from a previously conducted randomized, controlled trial comparing hand-assisted laparoscopic restorative proctocolectomy and open restorative proctocolectomy. End points included operating time, conversion rate, reoperation rate, hospital stay, morbidity, quality of life, and costs. The Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36 and the Gastrointestinal Quality of Life Index were used to evaluate general and bowel-related quality of life.
Groups were comparable for patient characteristics, such as sex, body mass index, preoperative disease duration, and age. There were neither conversions nor intraoperative complications. Median operating time was longer in the total laparoscopic compared with the hand-assisted laparoscopic group (298 vs. 214 minutes; P < 0.001). Morbidity and reoperation rates in the total laparoscopic, hand-assisted laparoscopic, and open groups were comparable (29 vs. 20 vs. 23 percent and 17 vs.10 vs. 13 percent, respectively). Median hospital-stay was 9 days in the total laparoscopic group compared with 10 days in the hand-assisted laparoscopic group and 11 days in the open group (P = not significant). There were no differences in quality of life and total costs.
There were no significant short-term benefits for total laparoscopic compared with hand-assisted laparoscopic restorative proctocolectomy with respect to early morbidity, operating time, quality of life, costs, and hospital stay.
PMCID: PMC2365983  PMID: 18301949
Restorative proctocolectomy; Total laparosocpic; Hand-assisted laparoscopic; Ileal pouch-anal-anastomosis; Ulcerative colitis; Familial polyposis coli
11.  Thoracoscopic resection for esophageal cancer: A review of literature 
Esophageal resection remains the only curative option in high grade dysplasia of the Barrett esophagus and non metastasized esophageal cancer. In addition, it may also be an adequate treatment in selected cases of benign disease. A wide variety of minimally invasive procedures have become available in esophageal surgery. Aim of the present review article is to evaluate minimally invasive procedures for esophageal resection, especially the approach performed through right thoracoscopy.
PMCID: PMC2749198  PMID: 19789676
Cancer; esophagus; laparoscopy; thoracoscopy
12.  The Sigma-trial protocol: a prospective double-blind multi-centre comparison of laparoscopic versus open elective sigmoid resection in patients with symptomatic diverticulitis 
BMC Surgery  2007;7:16.
Diverticulosis is a common disease in the western society with an incidence of 33–66%. 10–25% of these patients will develop diverticulitis. In order to prevent a high-risk acute operation it is advised to perform elective sigmoid resection after two episodes of diverticulitis in the elderly patient or after one episode in the younger (< 50 years) patient. Open sigmoid resection is still the gold standard, but laparoscopic colon resections seem to have certain advantages over open procedures. On the other hand, a double blind investigation has never been performed. The Sigma-trial is designed to evaluate the presumed advantages of laparoscopic over open sigmoid resections in patients with symptomatic diverticulitis.
Indication for elective resection is one episode of diverticulitis in patients < 50 years and two episodes in patient > 50 years or in case of progressive abdominal complaints due to strictures caused by a previous episode of diverticulits. The diagnosis is confirmed by CT-scan, barium enema and/or coloscopy.
It is required that the participating surgeons have performed at least 15 laparoscopic and open sigmoid resections. Open resection is performed by median laparotomy, laparoscopic resection is approached by 4 or 5 cannula. Sigmoid and colon which contain serosal changes or induration are removed and a tension free anastomosis is created. After completion of either surgical procedure an opaque dressing will be used, covering from 10 cm above the umbilicus to the pubic bone. Surgery details will be kept separate from the patient's notes.
Primary endpoints are the postoperative morbidity and mortality. We divided morbidity in minor (e.g. wound infection), major (e.g. anastomotic leakage) and late (e.g. incisional hernias) complications, data will be collected during hospital stay and after six weeks and six months postoperative. Secondary endpoints are the operative and the postoperative recovery data. Operative data include duration of the operation, blood loss and conversion to laparotomy. Post operative recovery consists of return to normal diet, pain, analgesics, general health (SF-36 questionnaire) and duration of hospital stay.
The Sigma-trial is a prospective, multi-center, double-blind, randomized study to define the role of laparoscopic sigmoid resection in patients with symptomatic diverticulitis.
PMCID: PMC1955435  PMID: 17683563
13.  Perioperative strategy in colonic surgery; LAparoscopy and/or FAst track multimodal management versus standard care (LAFA trial) 
BMC Surgery  2006;6:16.
Recent developments in large bowel surgery are the introduction of laparoscopic surgery and the implementation of multimodal fast track recovery programs. Both focus on a faster recovery and shorter hospital stay.
The randomized controlled multicenter LAFA-trial (LAparoscopy and/or FAst track multimodal management versus standard care) was conceived to determine whether laparoscopic surgery, fast track perioperative care or a combination of both is to be preferred over open surgery with standard care in patients having segmental colectomy for malignant disease.
The LAFA-trial is a double blinded, multicenter trial with a 2 × 2 balanced factorial design. Patients eligible for segmental colectomy for malignant colorectal disease i.e. right and left colectomy and anterior resection will be randomized to either open or laparoscopic colectomy, and to either standard care or the fast track program. This factorial design produces four treatment groups; open colectomy with standard care (a), open colectomy with fast track program (b), laparoscopic colectomy with standard care (c), and laparoscopic surgery with fast track program (d). Primary outcome parameter is postoperative hospital length of stay including readmission within 30 days. Secondary outcome parameters are quality of life two and four weeks after surgery, overall hospital costs, morbidity, patient satisfaction and readmission rate.
Based on a mean postoperative hospital stay of 9 +/- 2.5 days a group size of 400 patients (100 each arm) can reliably detect a minimum difference of 1 day between the four arms (alfa = 0.95, beta = 0.8). With 100 patients in each arm a difference of 10% in subscales of the Short Form 36 (SF-36) questionnaire and social functioning can be detected.
The LAFA-trial is a randomized controlled multicenter trial that will provide evidence on the merits of fast track perioperative care and laparoscopic colorectal surgery in patients having segmental colectomy for malignant disease.
PMCID: PMC1693570  PMID: 17134506
14.  Minimally invasive 'step-up approach' versus maximal necrosectomy in patients with acute necrotising pancreatitis (PANTER trial): design and rationale of a randomised controlled multicenter trial [ISRCTN38327949] 
BMC Surgery  2006;6:6.
The initial treatment of acute necrotizing pancreatitis is conservative. Intervention is indicated in patients with (suspected) infected necrotizing pancreatitis. In the Netherlands, the standard intervention is necrosectomy by laparotomy followed by continuous postoperative lavage (CPL). In recent years several minimally invasive strategies have been introduced. So far, these strategies have never been compared in a randomised controlled trial. The PANTER study (PAncreatitis, Necrosectomy versus sTEp up appRoach) was conceived to yield the evidence needed for a considered policy decision.
88 patients with (suspected) infected necrotizing pancreatitis will be randomly allocated to either group A) minimally invasive 'step-up approach' starting with drainage followed, if necessary, by videoscopic assisted retroperitoneal debridement (VARD) or group B) maximal necrosectomy by laparotomy. Both procedures are followed by CPL. Patients will be recruited from 20 hospitals, including all Dutch university medical centres, over a 3-year period. The primary endpoint is the proportion of patients suffering from postoperative major morbidity and mortality. Secondary endpoints are complications, new onset sepsis, length of hospital and intensive care stay, quality of life and total (direct and indirect) costs. To demonstrate that the 'step-up approach' can reduce the major morbidity and mortality rate from 45 to 16%, with 80% power at 5% alpha, a total sample size of 88 patients was calculated.
The PANTER-study is a randomised controlled trial that will provide evidence on the merits of a minimally invasive 'step-up approach' in patients with (suspected) infected necrotizing pancreatitis.
PMCID: PMC1508161  PMID: 16606471
15.  Video-Assisted Thoracoscopy is Superior to Standard Computer Tomography of the Thorax for Selection of Patients With Spontaneous Pneumothorax for Bullectomy 
Background: Spontaneous pneumothorax (SP) is a common disease of unknown cause often attributed to rupture of a subpleural bulla or bleb [in this study described as emphysema-like changes (ELC)]. Treatment of SP varies from conservative (rest) to aggressive (surgery). Patients with bullae >2 cm diameter, found either by chest roentgenogram or during thoracoscopy, are often treated surgically (bullectomy and pleurectomy, or abrasion). Thoracoscopy is frequently used as the method of choice to select patients for surgery. With the recent introduction of video-assisted thoracoscopy (VAT), it is now possible to combine a diagnostic and therapeutic procedure. However, to do this general anesthesia and a fully equipped operating theater are needed. Proper selection of patients for this costly and time-consuming procedure is necessary. We evaluated whether standard computed tomography (CT) is appropriate for selection of patients with SP who are candidates for surgical intervention.
Methods: In 43 patients with SP, CT was performed after re-expanding the lung by suction through a chest tube if the lung was completely collapsed. After <48 hours VAT under general anesthesia was performed. All CT scans were scored by two investigators who were not informed about the VAT findings or the outcome of the patient. CT findings and VAT findings were compared.
Results: In 16 patients (37%), CT scans of the affected lung were considered normal, while in 13 patients (30%) ELCs ≥2 cm were seen and in 14 patients (33%) ELCs <2 cm were found. VAT showed a normal lung in 11 patients (26%), in 24 patients ELCs ≥2 cm were seen, and in 8 patients ELCs <2 cm were present. Of these 32 patients, in 18 bullous degeneration of the apex of the upper lobe was found. Of the 24 patients with ELCs ≥2 cm detected during VAT, 13 were detected by CT. In no patient were ELCs ≥2 cm seen on CT scans that were not detected during VAT. The sensitivity of CT for ELCs ≥2 cm is 54%, and the specificity is 100%. The positive predictive value is 100%; the negative predictive value is 63%.
Conclusions: CT detects ELCs ≥2 cm in 54% of the patients in whom VAT shows these abnormalities. If interventional therapy is deemed appropriate for first time or recurrent SP, VAT should be used since it is superior to CT in demonstrating the presence, number, and size of ELCs.
PMCID: PMC2362520  PMID: 18493387
16.  Prognostic Factors in Patients With Spontaneous Pneumothorax Treated With Video-Assisted Thoracoscopy 
To analyse the efficacy of video-assisted thoracoscopy (VAT) in patients with spontaneous pneumothorax (SP) and to identify clinical factors associated with outcome after VAT, one hundred and one VATs were performed in 97 patients in this prospective study. Based on thoracoscopic appearance of the visceral pleura three groups were identified, group 1 (n = 23) showing no abnormalities treated with talcage, group 2 (n = 23) showing bullae less than 2 cm treated with talcage and coagulation, and group 3 (n = 51) showing bullae larger than 2 cm treated with bullectomy by staplers, coagulation and pleural scarification. Data were analyzed with regard to clinical factors such as age, smoking behavior, pulmonary function and recurrent pneumothorax at presentation. No perioperative deaths occurred. Overall relapse rate was 4.0% during a follow-up period of 3 to 38 months (median 27.2). Univariate analysis did not show any association of clinical factors with postoperative complications (n = 19). Patients with extensive pulmonary lesions had longer drainage and hospitalization time, probably due to insufficient sealing effects of stapler devices and/or pleural scarification. Using multivariate analysis, none of the clinical factors had any association with complication rate, drainage/hospitalization time or relapses after VAT. Only patients with bullae larger than 2 cm treated with bullectomy by stapler devices were associated with longer drainage and hospitalization time. This study suggests that VAT is effective in the treatment of spontaneous pneumothorax, although the use of stapler devices and/or pleural scarification was associated with longer drainage and hospitalization time, however, none of the clinical factors were associated with the outcome after VAT.
PMCID: PMC2362514  PMID: 18493374
17.  Diagnostic Thoracoscopy 
Since the introduction of video-imaging and endoscopic surgical interventions, there is a worldwide renewed interest in thoracoscopy. However, thoracoscopy for diagnosis of pleural and pulmonary disease has been performed for more than 30 years. An overview is presented here of the results and experiences in the past 3 decades of thoracoscopy for diagnosis of pulmonary and pleural disease. Thoracoscopy is a simple and safe method to obtain a diagnosis in case of pleural effusion, pleural mass, or interstitial lung disease. In most cases, it can be performed under local anaesthesia.
PMCID: PMC2362489  PMID: 18493365

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