Background: The introduction of optical-access laparoscopic trocars was met with enthusiasm and the impression that these devices provide safer access with decreased complication rates. However, serious complications have been reported. Patients and Methods: We retrospectively reviewed our first 96 consecutive cases (17 radical prostatectomies, 2 sacrocolpopexies, 6 adrenalectomies, and 71 renal procedures), performed between October 2001 and April 2003, of optical-access laparoscopic trocar placement as initial entry into the desufflated abdomen. After creating a 12-mm periumbilical or lateral-rectus incision, the 12-mm Endopath® Bladeless visual obturator trocar (Ethicon Endosurgery, Cincinnati, OH) was inserted into the peritoneum while carefully observing the separation of the layers of fascia, muscle, and peritoneum. Results: There were no vascular injuries. However, we observed 2 (2.1%) large-bowel injuries: a seromuscular injury and a through-and-through enterotomy of the mid-descending colon. In both cases, the visual obturator was placed lateral to the left rectus muscle, and the large colon was noted to be adherent to the anterior abdominal wall. The bowel injuries were repaired in two layers (running 3-0 Vicryl for the mucosa and 3-0 silk for the seromuscular layer). The operations were completed without open conversion and with uneventful recovery. Conclusions: Direct placement of an optical-access visual obturator trocar into the desufflated abdomen carries the potential for significant injury. Our current practice is to place the visual trocar after Veress-needle peritoneal insufflation.
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