Purpose: Inadvertent injuries during trocar and Veress needle placement are a rare but potentially serious complication of laparoscopic surgery. An access alternative is an optical trocar under direct vision. Limited data are available regarding the safety of this technique. We reviewed complications related to optical access trocars during standard transperitoneal urological laparoscopic procedures performed at a single institution. Materials and Methods: From 1995 to 2001 the optical access trocar was used as the initial trocar in 1,283 urological laparoscopic procedures. The procedures included simple and radical nephrectomy in 309 cases, donor nephrectomy in 386, partial nephrectomy in 79, pyeloplasty in 173 and various other procedures in 336. Intra-abdominal complications caused by optical access trocar were assessed. Results: The optical trocar was inserted at the umbilicus in 88 patients (7.4%), in the right upper quadrant in 445 (34.7%) and in the left upper quadrant in 750 (58.5%). There were 4 injuries (0.31%) associated with the optical access trocar. Complications occurred on the left side in 3 cases and on the right side in 1, including 1 injury to bowel, 1 mesenteric injury resulting in a retroperitoneal hematoma and 2 injuries to epigastric vessels. Three cases were recognized and repaired immediately but in a case of epigastric vessel injury the expanding abdominal wall hematoma required postoperative repair. Conclusions: Optical access trocars provide a safe and rapid technique for initial trocar placement. Results of this large series support the finding that few trocar related complications are associated with the optical access trocar.
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