Background: The use of the Veress needle in laparoscopy to create the pneumoperitoneum has inherent risks; it may cause vascular and visceral injuries. The open technique is compromised by the leakage of carbon dioxide and can also be time consuming. One alternative is to enter the abdomen using an optical trocar under direct view. Our aim was to determine whether the optical access trocar can be used to effect a safe and rapid entry in various laparoscopic procedures.
Methods: Over a 4-year period, the Optiview trocar was used for initial entry in 650 laparoscopic procedures. The procedures included cholecystectomy (n = 282), transabdominal inguinal hernia repair (n = 76), radiofrequency ablation of liver tumors (n = 73), adrenalectomy (n = 54), appendectomy (n = 41), colorectal surgery (n = 39), and various other procedures (n = 85). The following parameters were analyzed: presence of previous abdominal operations, site and duration of entry, and complications.
Results: Of the 650 patients, 156 (24%) had had previous abdominal operations. In 25 cases, previous trocar sites were reused for optical access. The optical trocar was inserted at the umbilicus in 495 patients (76%), in the right upper quadrant in 77 (12%), in the left upper quadrant in 26 (4%), in the upper midline in eight (1%), in the right lower quadrant in six (0.9%), and in the left lower quadrant in three (0.5%). In 35 patients undergoing posterior adrenalectomy, optical trocars were used to enter Gerota's space. Mean (SD) entry times were 92 (45) sec at the umbilical site, 114 (30) sec at the back, and 77 (35) sec at the remaining sites. Complications (0.3%) included one injury to the bowel and one injury to the gallbladder; however, they were recognized and repaired immediately.
Conclusions: To our knowledge, this report comprises the largest series in which the optical access trocar was used for laparoscopic surgery. This device provides the basis for a safe and fast technique for initial trocar placement: it also has the potential to reduce costs. Thanks to our favorable experience, the optical trocar method has become the standard technique for abdominal access in our laparoscopic practice since 1995.