Can laparoscopy be part of a paediatric surgery outreach service?
The aim of this study was to assess the outreach laparoscopic service delivered by four paediatric surgeons to a district general hospital (DGH).METHODS
A retrospective review was carried out of all laparoscopic procedures performed in a single DGH between January 2004 and November 2014 by the four paediatric surgeons providing the outreach service. All operations were identified from the electronic theatre system and archived correspondence. Demographic and clinical details were obtained from contemporaneous records.RESULTS
Over the 11-year study period, 1,339 operations were performed as part of the outreach paediatric surgery service, with 128 patients (9.6%) undergoing laparoscopy. The indications for laparoscopic surgery were impalpable unilateral or bilateral undescended testes (UDT) (n=79, 62%) or request for insertion of a feeding gastrostomy (n=49, 38%). All but six UDT cases (96%) were performed as day surgery and the median length of stay for gastrostomy patients was 3 days (interquartile range: 2–3 days). There were three UDT cases with surgical complications and one had complications related to the anaesthesia. One gastrostomy case required transfer to our tertiary centre for management of postoperative urinary retention and urethral injury.CONCLUSIONS
Elective laparoscopic procedures in young children can be provided safely as components of an outreach paediatric surgery service in a DGH setting as part of an increasing volume of operations performed by specialist paediatric surgeons. This enables children to have a high quality service as close to their home as possible.