Objective: To describe the safety and efficacy of open laparoscopy as a method of access to the abdominal cavity for laparoscopic surgery.
Methods: We reviewed retrospectively all cases of open laparoscopy we did between August 1970 and June 1999.
Results: Twenty-seven (0.5%) of 5284 patients who had open laparoscopies during the study years developed complications related to primary access. Twenty-one had minor wound infections, four had minor hematomas, one developed an umbilical hernia that required reoperation, and one had an inadvertent injury to the small bowel that was repaired intraoperatively without adverse outcome. Access to the abdominal cavity was generally secured in 3-10 minutes.
Conclusion: Open laparoscopy was associated with no method failure or life-threatening complications. Minor and medium risk complications occurred at a rate of 0.5%. Open laparoscopy is a safe, effective method of accessing the abdominal cavity.