Systematic review of the safety and effectiveness of methods used to establish pneumoperitoneum in laparoscopic surgery

Br J Surg. 2003 Jun;90(6):668-79. doi: 10.1002/bjs.4203.


Background: A systematic review was conducted to determine which of the methods of obtaining peritoneal access and establishing pneumoperitoneum is the safest and most effective.

Methods: Studies that met the inclusion criteria were identified from six bibliographic databases up to May 2002, the internet, hand-searches and reference lists. They were critically appraised using a validated checklist and data were extracted using standardized protocols.

Results: Meta-analysis of prospective, non-randomized studies of open versus closed (needle/trocar) access indicated a trend during open access towards a reduced risk of major complications (pooled relative risk (RR(p)) 0.30, 95 per cent confidence interval (c.i.) 0.09 to 1.03). Open access was also associated with a trend towards a reduced risk of access-site herniation (RR(p) 0.21, 95 per cent c.i. 0.04 to 1.03) and, in non-obese patients, a 57 per cent reduced risk of minor complications (RR(p) 0.43, 95 per cent c.i. 0.20 to 0.92) and a trend for fewer conversions to laparotomy (RR(p) 0.21, 95 per cent c.i. 0.04 to 1.17). Data on major complications in studies of direct trocar versus needle/trocar access were inconclusive. Minor complications in randomized controlled trials were fewer with direct trocar access (RR(p) 0.19, 95 per cent c.i. 0.09 to 0.40), predominantly owing to a reduction in extraperitoneal insufflation.

Conclusion: The evidence on the comparative safety and effectiveness of the different access methods was not definitive, but there were trends in the data that merit further exploration.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Controlled Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy / methods*
  • Pneumoperitoneum, Artificial / adverse effects*
  • Pneumoperitoneum, Artificial / methods
  • Pneumoperitoneum, Artificial / standards
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Safety
  • Treatment Outcome