Background: Colonoscopy is an established tool for the diagnosis and management of colonic and rectal pathology. Even though colonic perforation is rare after colonoscopy, it is a serious and typical complication. The definitive management remains controversial. Both operative and nonoperative techniques have been described in the literature, though the standard treatment for these patients is still an operative repair of the perforation site. Recently, endoscopic clip application was recommended, particularly for iatrogenic perforations, but less is known about the effectiveness of endoluminal repair of colonic perforations with clips.
Methods: In this series, 7589 colonoscopies were performed over a 34-month period in a tertiary-level referral center. Three perforations occurred during 5413 diagnostic colonoscopies. Therapeutic colonoscopy was under taken in 2176 patients, resulting in a total of 27 perforations. Out of 30 patients with colonic perforation, five patients underwent operative management and 25 patients were subsequently treated nonoperatively.
Results: In 27 patients, endoscopic application of inert metallic clips was used for closure of iatrogenic perforation. Twenty-five of these patients were treated non-operatively, while two patients underwent surgery. The mean postoperative length of hospitalization for patients was 12.2 days, compared to 3.5 days for patients treated conservatively.
Conclusions: Endoluminal repair of colonic perforations with clips and further conservative treatment seems to provide a tool that avoids the major additional trauma associated with laparotomy or laparoscopy and minimizes the length of hospitalization.