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Acute colonic obstruction: endoscopic stenting and laparoscopic resection

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Acute colonic obstruction is a frequent emergency condition in a general surgical setting. The use of an endoscopic self-expanding stent can relieve obstruction and eventually prepare the patient for elective laparoscopic or open surgery.

Materials and Methods

From September 2001 to March 2006 we treated 25 patients with acute left or transverse colonic obstruction. In 23 patients stents were positioned planning an elective procedure to be performed. In two patients with multiple liver metastases and malignant ascites only a palliation was intended (2 of 25 patients).


Mean age was 66.6 years. The 23 patients who underwent resection, 14 females and nine males, had a mean age of 65.5 years. Obstructions were located in the rectum (five), in the sigmoid (16) and in the transverse colon (two). In one patient stricture was due to radiotherapy, in twenty four cases it was due to primary cancer. Stents were successfully placed in 24 patients. In one of them two stents had to be placed due to the slippage of the first one beyond the stricture. Excellent resumption of colonic transit was achieved in all the patients. No complications were observed. In 23 patients resection was performed (19 laparoscopy; four open). Complications occurred in one patient in open group (pancreatic fistula after splenectomy) and was treated conservatively. Mean postoperative stay was 18.5 (range 9–35) days for the open group and 12 (range 9–20) for the laparoscopic group. Mean follow-up was 36 months.


use of self expanding endoscopic colonic stents can provide excellent palliation in acute obstruction, aiming both to prepare the colon to elective surgery after adequate preparation or to palliate the stricture in case of unresectable advanced tumors.

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Correspondence to Stefano Olmi.

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Olmi, S., Scaini, A., Cesana, G. et al. Acute colonic obstruction: endoscopic stenting and laparoscopic resection. Surg Endosc 21, 2100 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00464-007-9352-3

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  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Endoscopy
  • Stent
  • Laparoscopy
  • Colonic resection