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Persistent post-laparoscopy pneumoperitoneum

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Background: Persistent pneumoperitoneum after a laparoscopic operation can represent either residual postoperative pneumoperitoneum or free intraperitoneal gas released from the gastrointestinal tract. This animal study was conducted to better characterize the extent and duration of postoperative pneumoperitoneum as detected by computed tomography (CT). Methods: Five pigs underwent cholecystectomy, four laparoscopically and one open. All pigs were followed serially with upright chest radiographs and abdominal CT scans beginning immediately postoperatively and continuing daily until resolution of pneumoperitoneum as detected by both imaging modalities. All radiographs and CT scans were reviewed by dedicated radiologists who reported the extent and duration of pneumoperitoneum in a blinded fashion. Results: Pneumoperitoneum resolved on upright chest radiographs in all five pigs by or on postoperative day 1. Serial CT scans demonstrated that the laparoscopic group had either resolution of pneumoperitoneum or minimal persistence of free intraperitoneal gas by postoperative day 2. In contrast, the single pig in the open group had CT evidence of persistent pneumoperitoneum through postoperative day 6. Conclusions: In the pig model, small pockets of free intraperitoneal gas detected by CT scanning are expected to resolve by postoperative day 2 following laparoscopic surgery. Persistence of pneumoperitoneum beyond this interval is abnormal and may represent a perforated viscus. Whereas a prospective CT imaging study in humans is not ethically feasible, we believe that parallel conclusions between the pig and human may be drawn.

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Feingold, D., Widmann, W., Calhoun, S. et al. Persistent post-laparoscopy pneumoperitoneum . Surg Endosc 17, 296–299 (2003).

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  • Compute Tomography
  • Compute Tomography Imaging
  • Abdominal Compute Tomography
  • Laparoscopic Group
  • Blinded Fashion