Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) has become an important tool within most subspecialties of general surgery. Laparoscopic techniques and equipment have significantly evolved, allowing increased operative capabilities. The goals of MIS are the same in trauma as they are in any other general surgery application. These are reduced postoperative pain, shorter length of hospital stay, earlier return to normal activities, improved operative visualization, and decreased cost. An added potential benefit of laparoscopy in the trauma patient population is the reduction of non-therapeutic laparotomies, which have a reported 41% short-term complication rate.
Recent literature has confirmed the utility of laparoscopy as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool in the operative management of the injured patient. Unfortunately, the differences between trauma and other surgical specialties have resulted in a delay in accepting trauma laparoscopy as a legitimate operative technique. There is still a paucity of rigorous prospective research. Some patients have equivocal physical and radiologic findings that can result in a delay in diagnosis.