Background: Complete mesocolic excision is gradually becoming an established oncologic surgical principle for right hemicolectomy. However, the procedure is technically demanding and carries the risk of serious complications, especially when performed laparoscopically. A standardized procedure that minimizes technical hazards and facilitates teaching is, therefore, highly desirable.
Methods: An expert group of surgeons and one anatomist met three times. The initial aim was to achieve consensus about the surgical anatomy before agreeing on a sequence for dissection in laparoscopic CME. This proposal was evaluated and discussed in an anatomy workshop using post-mortem body donors along with videos of process-informed procedures, leading to a definite consensus.
Results: In order to provide a clear picture of the surgical anatomy, the "open book" model was developed, consisting of symbolic pages representing the corresponding dissection planes (retroperitoneal, ileocolic, transverse mesocolic, and mesogastric), vascular relations, and radicality criteria. The description of the procedure is based on eight preparative milestones, which all serve as critical views of safety. The chosen sequence of the milestones was designed to maximize control during central vascular dissection. Failure to reach any of the critical views should alert the surgeon to a possible incorrect dissection and to consider converting to an open procedure.
Conclusion: Combining the open-book anatomical model with a clearly structured dissection sequence, using critical views as safety checkpoints, may provide a safe and efficient platform for teaching laparoscopic right hemicolectomy with CME.
Keywords: Colon cancer; Complete mesocolic excision; Critical view; Laparoscopy; Right hemicolectomy; Standardization.