Urological complications of laparoscopic hysterectomy: a four-year review at KK Women's and Children's Hospital, Singapore.


INTRODUCTION This review assessed the incidence, predisposing conditions, and key surgical steps, where urological injuries occurred during laparoscopic hysterectomies at the Minimally Invasive Surgery Unit, KK Women's and Children's Hospital over a four-year period. METHODS A retrospective review of 495 cases of laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomies (LAVH) and total laparoscopic hysterectomy (TLH) from January 2001 to December 2004 was conducted. RESULTS A total of eight urological injuries occurred, all within the initial two years of review. There were seven unintentional bladder injuries occurring at LAVH during dissection of the bladder off the uterovaginal attachment. The associated factors included previous caesarean section and fibroids. All bladder injuries were diagnosed and repaired intraoperatively with no long-term complications. A single case of ureteric injury occurred with TLH. The patient presented on the ninth postoperative day with fever and continuous vaginal discharge. The most likely aetiology was thermal damage from electrocautery used to secure haemostasis of the uterine artery pedicle. Ureteric re-implantation was eventually required in the patient. CONCLUSION Urological injuries occurred in 1.6 percent of laparoscopic hysterectomies in our hospital. The predisposing factors include previous caesarean surgery, multiple fibroids and severe endometriosis. A definite learning curve exists with laparoscopic hysterectomy with a thorough knowledge of pelvic anatomy being an essential prerequisite for advanced pelvic surgery. Similarly, good exposure of the surgical field, vigilant dissection and judicious use of electro-surgery are important practices to adopt to prevent injuries.


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