Laparoscopic peritoneal lavage for perforated sigmoid diverticulitis

Colorectal Dis. 2012 Feb;14(2):135-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1318.2011.02606.x.


Aim: Currently in the UK the standard surgical practice for the management of perforated sigmoid diverticulitis is a Hartmann's procedure. There have been a number of recent publications on the use of laparoscopic peritoneal lavage for perforated sigmoid diverticulitis, as an alternative to the emergency Hartmann's procedure, with its associated morbidity and mortality. We aim to review the current literature on this topic.

Method: A search was made on the electronic database MEDLINE from PubMed, EMBASE and the Cochrane library. The keywords 'diverticulitis', 'perforated' and 'laparoscopy' were searched for in the titles and abstracts without language restrictions. Further studies were identified from searches on Google Scholar, as well as manual searches through reference lists of the relevant studies found. All included studies were quality assessed.

Results: Twelve relevant studies were included. A total of 301 patients were reported, with a mean age of 57 years. All were non-randomized studies. The majority of patients were of Hinchey classification III. All were treated with intravenous antibiotics followed by laparoscopic lavage and insertion of intra-abdominal/pelvic drains. The mean conversion rate was 4.9% and mean length of hospital stay was 9.3 days. The mean complication rate was 18.9% and the overall mortality rate was 0.25%. Subsequent elective resections with primary anastamosis were performed in 51% of patients and the majority were completed laparoscopically.

Conclusion: Laparoscopic peritoneal lavage for perforated sigmoid diverticulitis appears to be a potentially effective and more conservative alternative to a Hartmann's procedure. Randomized control trials are needed to better evaluate its role.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Diverticulitis, Colonic / complications
  • Diverticulitis, Colonic / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Perforation / etiology
  • Intestinal Perforation / therapy*
  • Laparoscopy
  • Peritoneal Lavage*
  • Sigmoid Diseases / complications
  • Sigmoid Diseases / therapy*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents