Conference Coverage

Minimally invasive colon surgery: Managing conversions



LAS VEGAS – Minimally invasive colon surgery has many advantages over an open procedure with respect to complications and patient recovery, but as surgeons are well aware, sometimes conversion cannot and should not be avoided. “It’s going to happen, and if you’re not converting any of your patients, then you’re probably not being aggressive enough,” said Bradley R. Davis, MD, FACS, at a talk he gave on the topic at the Annual Minimally Invasive Surgery Symposium (MISS) 2018 by Global Academy for Medical Education.

Dr. Bradley R. Davis

Dr. Davis discussed some of the most common reasons for conversion to open surgery and strategies to try to reduce the incidence. He is the chief of general surgery and the chief of rectal and rectal surgery at Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, N.C.

A 2017 survey of 41,417 left hemicolectomy and sigmoidectomy procedures revealed that 63.4% were attempted laparoscopically, and the rate of conversion to an open procedure was 13.4% (JSLS. 2017 Jul-Sep;21[3]:e2017.00036). “I think that if your conversation rate is between 5% and 15%, [it’s] perfectly acceptable,” said Dr. Davis.

He suggested that surgeons should be willing to consider an increasing number of cases for minimally invasive surgery, despite the risk of conversion. By taking some precautions and being aware of which cases are most likely to lead to conversion, surgeons can potentially reduce the conversion rate – or at least lessen the effects it can have on patients and on costs.


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