The role of diagnostic laparoscopy for trauma at a high-volume level one center

Deepika Koganti*, Benjamin J. Hazen, Christopher J. Dente, Jonathan Nguyen, Rondi B. Gelbard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: The role of minimally invasive surgery in trauma has continued to evolve over the past 20 years. Diagnostic laparoscopy (DL) has become increasingly utilized for the diagnosis and management of both blunt and penetrating injuries. Objective: While the safety and feasibility of laparoscopy has been established for penetrating thoracoabdominal trauma, it remains a controversial tool for other injury patterns due to the concern for complications and missed injuries. We sought to examine the role of laparoscopy for the initial management of traumatic injuries at our urban Level 1 trauma center. Methods: All trauma patients who underwent DL for blunt or penetrating trauma between 2009 and 2018 were retrospectively reviewed. Demographic data, indications for DL, injuries identified, rate of conversion to open surgery, and outcomes were evaluated. Results: A total of 316 patients were included in the cohort. The mean age was 34.9 years old (± 13.7), mean GCS 14 (± 3), and median ISS 10 (4–18). A total of 110/316 patients (35%) sustained blunt injury and 206/316 patients (65%) sustained penetrating injury. Indications for DL included evaluation for peritoneal violation (152/316, 48%), free fluid without evidence of solid organ injury (52/316, 16%), evaluation of bowel injury (42/316, 13%), and evaluation for diaphragmatic injury (35/316, 11%). Of all DLs, 178/316 (56%) were negative for injury requiring intervention, which was 58% of blunt cases and 55% of penetrating cases. There were no missed injuries noted. Average hospital length of stay was significantly shorter for patients that underwent DL vs conversion to open exploration (2.2 days vs. 4.5 days, p < 0.05). Conclusion: In this single institution, retrospective study, the high volume of cases appears to show that DL is a reliable tool for detecting injury and avoiding potential negative or non-therapeutic laparotomies. However, when injuries were present, the high rate of conversion to open exploration suggests that its utility for therapeutic intervention warrants further study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2667-2670
Number of pages4
JournalSurgical Endoscopy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Blunt trauma
  • Diagnostic laparoscopy
  • Laparoscopy
  • Penetrating trauma
  • Trauma


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