Abdominal Compliance and Laparoscopy: A Review

JSLS. 2019 Jan-Mar;23(1):e2018.00080. doi: 10.4293/JSLS.2018.00080.


Background and objectives: Creating and maintaining a pneumoperitoneum to perform laparoscopy is governed by gas laws and the limiting physical constraints of the abdomen.

Methods: A review of how gas, biomechanical and physical properties affect the abdomen and a systematic structured Medline and PubMed search was conducted to identify relevant studies related to the topic.

Results: Abdominal compliance is a measure of ease of abdominal expansion and is determined by the elasticity of the abdominal wall and diaphragm. It is the change in intra-abdominal volume per change in intra-abdominal pressure. Caution should be exercised with pressures exceeding 12 millimeters mercury since this is defined as intra-abdominal hypertension.

Conclusions: Abdominal compliance has its limits, is unique for each patient and pressure-volume curves cannot be easily predicted. Using the lowest possible pressure to accomplish the surgical task without compromising surgical outcome is the desired goal. The clinical importance is caution and knowing there is a point where more pressure does not increase working space and only increases pressure.

Keywords: Compliance; Insufflation; Pneumoperitoneum; Pressure; Volume.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Cavity / physiopathology*
  • Carbon Dioxide / administration & dosage*
  • Compliance
  • Humans
  • Insufflation / methods
  • Laparoscopy / methods*
  • Pneumoperitoneum, Artificial / methods*
  • Pressure


  • Carbon Dioxide