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Laparoscopic Surgery Gaining Support During Pregnancy

Wed, 09/08/2010 - 5:38am

Even pregnant women get appendicitis, but worries about the fetus sometimes give patients and surgeons pause about whether to operate using popular, minimally invasive techniques. A new study by San Antonio surgeons looked at the results of both laparoscopic and open surgery on pregnant women over several years and found them equally safe and effective for removing both gallbladders and appendixes.

By one estimate, as many as one in every 500 pregnant women needs non-gynecological abdominal surgery during pregnancy. The findings, published in the September issue of the American Journal of Surgery, looked at 94 San Antonio-area women who had either an appendix or gallbladder removed between 1993 and 2007. Just over half were treated laparoscopically.

While none of the women died, complications were common in both groups – 36.7 percent of the laparoscopic group and 41.7 percent of the open surgery group. Birth outcomes were available on about half the cases and were similar, Corneille said. Four fetal deaths were reported, all apparently linked to causes other than the surgical method.

The Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons has published guidelines on laparoscopic surgery in pregnancy, citing growing “evidence to suggest that clinical outcomes are equivalent to open surgical techniques, while conferring all the advantages of the laparoscopic approach.”

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