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A Journal on Surgery

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Minerva Chirurgica 2011 April;66(2):107-17

language: English

Errors in laparoscopic surgery: what surgeons should know

Galleano R. 1, Franceschi A. 1, Ciciliot M. 1, Falchero F. 1, Cuschieri A. 2

1 Unit of General Surgery, S. Maria di Misericordia Hospital, Albenga, Savona, Italy
2 Sant’Anna School, Pisa, Italy


Some two decades after its introduction, minimal access surgery (MAS) is still evolving. Undoubtedly, its significant uptake world wide is due to its clinical benefits to patient outcome. These benefits include reduced traumatic insult, reduction of pain, earlier return to bowel function, decrease disability, shorter hospitalization and better cosmetic results. Nonetheless complications due to the laparoscopic approach are not rare as documented by several studies on task specific or procedure related MAS morbidity. In all these instances, error analysis research has demonstrated that an understanding of the underlying causes of these complications requires a comprehensive approach addressing the entire system related to the procedure for identification and characterization of the errors ultimately responsible for the morbidity. The present review covers definition, taxonomy and incidence of errors in medicine with special reference to MAS. In addition, possible root causes of adverse events in laparoscopy are explored and existing methods to study errors are reviewed. Finally specific areas requiring further human factors research to enhance safety of patients undergoing laparoscopic operations are identified. The hope is that awareness of causes and mechanisms of errors may reduce incidence of errors in clinical practice for the final benefit of the patients.

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