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BACKGROUND: Whether or not the laparoscopic technique has substantial advantages over the mini-laparotomy one for ventriculoperitoneal shunt is still controversial. The present study is a literature review and a meta-analysis about this topic, focused on the duration of surgery, length of stay (LOS), infection rate and rate of distal catheter failure.
METHODS: An extensive online literature search was performed, followed by a meta-analysis implemented with RevMan 5.0 Cochrane software. For laparoscopy and mini-laparotomy group, odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) was calculated for distal catheter malposition/obstruction and infection rate. Mean difference was considered for duration of surgery and LOS. Fixed-effect model with a significance < 0.05 was employed. A t-test (p< 0.05) between the groups, also including the non-comparative cohort studies, was performed for each primary endpoint.
RESULTS: 18 studies, involving 3361 patients, were selected. Average level of evidence was 3.2 ± 0.7. Primary shunts were 93 % in laparoscopy group and 87 % in mini-laparotomy one (p=0.626). A previous abdominal surgery was present in 37.5 % and 33.7% of laparoscopy and laparotomy group, respectively (p=0.449). Laparoscopy had a lower incidence of distal catheter failure (OR 0.52, 95% CI 0.38–0.72; p<0.001). No differences were revealed about the duration of surgery, LOS and infection rate.
CONCLUSION: Laparoscopic technique has a lower risk of distal catheter failure in ventriculoperitoneal shunt for the treatment of hydrocephalus. Duration of surgery, LOS and infection rate are independent by the surgical technique. The overall level of evidence is low, and no absolute conclusions can be drawn.