Laparoscopy-assisted ventriculoperitoneal shunt surgery: personal experience and review of the literature

Neurosurg Rev (2011) 34:363–371. DOI 10.1007/s10143-011-0309-6

Ventriculoperitoneal shunting is a widely accepted technique for the treatment of hydrocephalus. The standard procedure to insert the peritoneal catheter requires an abdominal incision, muscle dissection, and opening of the peritoneum. A number of complications related to the abdominal surgical phase have been reported. Laparoscopy-assisted ventriculoperitoneal shunting is a valid alternative procedure that reduces surgical trauma.

We describe our experience and review the literature. A total of 30 laparoscopically guided ventriculoperitoneal shunting procedures were performed between January 2007 and June 2008, in collaboration with a general surgeon experienced in laparoscopy. Of these procedures, 25 were new shunt placements and 5 were revisions. Data about operative time, outcome, and complications were registered and compared with a group of 30 patients treated by means of standard laparotomy in the period 2005–2007. Laparoscopic shunt placement was successful in all patients. Operative duration, complications, and postoperative pain were all lower in patients treated by laparoscopy as compared to the laparotomy. In the laparoscopic group, an earlier peristalsis, quicker mobilization, and better cosmetic results were also noted.

Laparoscopy in both ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement and revision is a safe, effective, and minimally invasive technique. It ensures proper abdominal placement of the distal catheter under direct vision allowing confirmation of its patency.

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