Improving laparoscopy in embalmed cadavers: a new method with a lateral abdominal wall muscle section
BACKGROUND We set out to design a bowel retractor for use during laparoscopic transperitoneal reconstruction of the infrarenal aorta and of both iliac axes. METHODS This study was performed on five cadavers. After the insertion of four trocars, a pneumoperitoneum was created, and the bowels were gathered to the right flank. On each cadaver, the following four measurements were made: the distance between the Treitz angle and the aortic bifurcation (L1), the distance between the aortic bifurcation and the right internal inguinal ring (L2), the angles between L1 and L2 in the axial plane (A1), and the angles between them in the sagittal (A2) plane. These measurements enabled us to create a bowel retractor. The device was composed of a malleable metallic rod with a 2.5-mm diameter that was fixed to the operating table and whose intraabdominal section was designed to follow the outline of the mesenteric root in addition, a 25 x 12 cm polypropylene net was slipped around the rod. The infrarenal aorta and both iliac axes were then dissected. Secondarily, the bowel retractor was used in eight patients (seven men and one woman; mean age, 56 years; range 44-76) during laparoscopic aortoiliac reconstruction for occlusive (n = 6) or aneurysmal (n = 2) disease. RESULTS The statistical analysis of the measurements performed on cadavers showed a significant correlation between body height and L1 (r = 0.8769; p < 0.05) and L2 (r = 0. 9706; p < 0.01) distances. It was then possible to design the shape of two metallic rods (one small and one large) so that they would be adaptable to the height of the patients (<1.65 m and >1.65 m). During our clinical experience, all laparoscopic procedures were completed in a mean operative and clamping time of 266 min (range, 215-360) and 54 min (range, 18-90), respectively. Mean postoperative hospital stay was 6 days (range, 3-13). CONCLUSION Our experimental study allowed us to develop a bowel retractor that can make it easier to perform laparoscopic transperitoneal aortoiliac reconstruction in humans.