Air Insufflation Injuries With Laparoscopy

Because laparoscopic surgery requires the use of carbon dioxide in the abdominal cavity, air insufflation injuries with laparoscopy are a possibility. These injuries are usually due to misplacement of the needle that is used to fill the abdomen with carbon dioxide, and this problem is usually corrected quickly. The procedure may have to be stopped, however, if massive amounts of air are inflated.

Air Insufflation Injuries With Laparoscopy: An Overview

Laparoscopy requires the use of carbon dioxide -- the same air you breathe out -- placed into the abdominal cavity in order to properly see the internal organs. There are some uncommon laparoscopy complications that can occur as a result of this.
One possible complication is air leaking into a different space in your abdomen. This occurs when the needle sending the air is not correctly placed into your abdominal cavity. When this occurs, gas may be accidentally pushed into the abdominal wall. Usually, misplacement of the needle is discovered quickly, and the needle can be easily moved to the correct spot. If massive amounts of air are inflated, however, the procedure may have to be stopped.
If the needle is inadvertently placed into the bowel or another organ, the procedure may also need to be interrupted and the injury repaired, if necessary. One extremely rare but potential risk involves the placement of air into a major blood vessel. This can result in a carbon dioxide embolus, a potentially fatal complication where a bubble of gas travels into the heart and causes the system to collapse. This is an extremely rare occurrence.
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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