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Keywords:

  • esophagoscopy;
  • laparoscopy;
  • pediatric;
  • thoracoscopy

SUMMARY

Minimally invasive surgical techniques are becoming increasingly popular within the pediatric population. Flexible endoscopy may enhance or replace existing techniques in the future. Many of the reported benefits of laparoscopy and thoracoscopy may apply to endoscopy and endoscopy-assisted procedures; however, no reports exist as to the application, results, and outcomes for these procedures in children. It was hypothesized that endoscopy is a useful and safe adjunct for pediatric surgical patients. Retrospective review of medical records for patients who underwent endoscopy or endoscopy-assisted operations at two children's hospitals over 3 years (August 31, 2007–August 31, 2010) was completed. During this time period, 30 procedures were performed on 28 patients. Indications for procedure, age, operative technique, operative times, surgical outcomes, complications, and length of stay for each patient were reviewed. Patient age ranged from 3 days to 20 years. Indications for operation included esophageal pathology (13), gastroduodenal pathology (14), pancreatic pseudocyst (2), and displaced sigmoid Chait® (Cook, Inc., Bloomington, IN, USA) tube. Although endoscopy was intended only as an adjunct in all cases, the planned procedure was satisfactorily completed with a purely endoscopic approach in six cases. There were no intraoperative complications, and minor postoperative complications including one stricture requiring dilation, postoperative stridor, and esophageal leak, were each successfully managed conservatively. Endoscopy offers a promising adjunct to more traditional minimally invasive techniques in children. In some cases, endoscopy may offer an alternative to more invasive procedures or eliminate the need for tube thoracostomy or post-procedural contrast studies in some esophageal cases.