Laparoscopic reversal of Hartmann procedure: is it safe and feasible?

Updates Surg. 2016 Mar;68(1):105-10. doi: 10.1007/s13304-016-0363-2. Epub 2016 Apr 13.


The Hartmann procedure (HP) consists of a sigmoidectomy followed by a terminal colostomy in the left iliac fossa and closure of the rectal stump. Although done as a temporary procedure, up to 74 % of patients will not have stoma reversal with subsequent negative impact on the quality of life. A literature search was performed using MEDLINE (PubMed), The Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar, and the articles from January 2000 until December 2015, edited in English, Italian and French, prospective or retrospective, were analyzed. Outcome variables included number of patients, mean age, sex, etiology of Hartmann's procedure, time interval between initial procedure and reversal procedure (in days), mean operative time (in minutes), number of patients converted to open surgery, causes of conversion, length of hospital stay, mortality, and complication rates. For the purpose of this review, only 21 studies were considered for the final analysis and a total of 681 patients were evaluated. The mean time interval between the initial procedure and the reversal (reported in 18 articles) was 181.6 days (range 95-330 days), while the mean operative time (reported in 20 articles) was 163.2 min (range 62-285). Overall, 80 patients (11.7 %) were converted to open technique. The length of hospitalization was between 3 and 12 days. The mortality rate was reported in 19 articles and was 0.7 % (5 patients). 113 patients (16.6 %) underwent post-operative complications. The HP reversal is a challenging procedure, but it can be safely performed laparoscopically providing various advantages when compared to the open technique and it should be proposed only to a selected group of patients, young and without a severe peritonitis at the first operation.

Keywords: Hartmann's procedure; Laparoscopic Hartmann reconstruction; Laparoscopic Hartmann reversal; Laparoscopic Hartmann's continuity; Laparoscopic Hartmann's procedure.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anastomosis, Surgical / methods
  • Colon / surgery*
  • Colostomy / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy / methods*
  • Operative Time
  • Rectum / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies