Tattooing or not? A review of current practice and outcomes for laparoscopic colonic resection following endoscopy at a tertiary care centre

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Abstract

Background

Because small colonic tumours may not be visualized or palpated during laparoscopy, location of the lesion must be identified before surgery. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the current recommendation of endoscopic tattooing of lesions prior to laparoscopic colonic resections.

Methods

All consecutive patients who underwent elective laparoscopic resection for a colonic lesion at a single tertiary institution between 2013 and 2015 were identified for chart review.

Results

In total, 224 patients underwent laparoscopic resection for a benign or malignant colonic lesion during the study period. All patients had a complete colonoscopy preoperatively. In all, 148 patients (66%) had their lesion tattooed at endoscopy. Most lesions were tattooed distally, but 15% were tattooed either proximally, both proximally and distally, or tattooed without specifying location as proximal or distal. Tattoo localization was accurate in 69% of cases. Tattooed lesions were not visible during surgery 21.5% of time; 2 cases were converted to open surgery to identify the lesion. Inaccuracy in endoscopic localization led to change in surgical plan in 16% of surgeries. In the nontattooed group, 1 case was converted to open surgery to localize the lesion, 3 required intraoperative colonoscopy and 1 had positive margins on final pathology.

Conclusion

To improve surgical planning, we recommend the practice of endoscopic tattooing of all colon lesions at a location just distal to the lesion using multiple injections to cover the circumference of the bowel wall.

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