The role of emergency laparoscopic colectomy for complicated sigmoid diverticulits: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Surgeon. 2019 Dec;17(6):360-369. doi: 10.1016/j.surge.2018.08.010. Epub 2018 Oct 9.


Background: Nowadays sigmoidectomy is recommended as "gold standard" treatment for generalized purulent or faecal peritonitis from sigmoid perforated diverticulitis. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to assess effectiveness and safety of laparoscopic access versus open sigmoidectomy in acute setting.

Methods: A systematic literature search was performed for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and non-RCTs published in PubMed, SCOPUS and Web of Science.

Results: The search yielded four non-RCTs encompassing 436 patients undergoing either laparoscopic (181 patients, 41.51%) versus open sigmoid resection (255 patients, 58.49%). All studies reported ASA scores, but only four studies reported other severity scoring systems (Mannheim Peritonitis Index, P-POSSUM). Level of surgical expertise was reported in only one study. Laparoscopy improves slightly the rates of overall post-operative complications and post-operative hospital stay, respectively (RR 0.62, 95% CI 0.49 to 0.80 and MD -6.53, 95% CI -16.05 to 2.99). Laparoscopy did not seem to improve the other clinical outcomes: rate of Hartmann's vs anastomosis, operating time, reoperation rate and postoperative 30-day mortality.

Conclusion: In this review four prospective studies were included, over 20 + year period, including overall 400 + patients. This meta-analysis revealed significant advantages associated with a laparoscopic over open approach to emergency sigmoidectomy in acute diverticulitis in terms of postoperative complication rates, although no differences were found in other outcomes. The lack of hemodynamic data and reasons for operative approach hamper interpretation of the data suggesting that patients undergoing open surgery were sicker and these results must be considered with extreme caution and this hypothesis requires confirmation by future prospective randomised controlled trials.

Keywords: Acute care surgery; Acute complicated diverticulitis; Colorectal emergency surgery; Diverticulitis; Emergency sigmoid resection; Hartmann's procedure; Laparoscopic sigmoidectomy; Sigmoidectomy.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Colectomy*
  • Diverticulitis / complications*
  • Diverticulitis / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy*
  • Sigmoid Diseases / complications*
  • Sigmoid Diseases / surgery*