Splenic flexure mobilization for sigmoid and low anterior resections in the minimally invasive era: How often and at what cost?

Erica Pettke, Natasha Leigh, Abhinit Shah, Vesna Cekic, Xiaohong Yan, H. M.C.Shantha Kumara, Nipa Gandhi, Richard L. Whelan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Splenic flexure mobilization (SFM) increases left colonic reach for a better vascularized and tension-free anastomosis. Open SFM is challenging due to anatomic position. Minimally invasive SFM improves visualization and minimizes splenic traction. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed all sigmoid and low anterior resections (LAR) by a colorectal surgical group over 10-year period. We analyzed indications, surgical methods and perioperative outcomes of open and MIS SFM cohorts. Results: 793 patients were included; 122 (15.5%) open, 671 (84.5%) MIS (60% laparoscopic-assisted (LA), 40% hand-assisted (HA)). Overall, indications were cancer (56%), diverticulitis (31%), and other benign diseases (13%). Compared to MIS, open cases had more complex disease (45% vs. 18%, p < 0.01), with fewer SFM performed (40% vs. 86%, p < 0.01), required more frequent diversion (30% vs. 21%, p = 0.02) and were complicated by higher leak/abscess (7% vs. 3%, p = 0.06) and reoperation rates (10% vs. 6%, p = 0.11). 1% of SFM required conversion (LA to HA 0.5%, MIS to open 0.5%). There were no open SFM complications. There were 26 (5%) MIS SFM complications; bleeding (18; 12 splenic capsular tears (0 splenectomy/splenorraphy), 6 mesenteric) and organ injury (bowel (3), pancreatic (4), renal (1)). Conclusions: Our SFM rate was high in the MIS group, with a low overall complication rate. Of note, the anastomotic leak/abscess rate was 3%, and may be related to the high SFM rate. It is the authors’ opinion that a major advantage of MIS is to facilitate SFM, hence SFM is more likely to be performed with these methods compared to open procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-196
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Left colectomy
  • Low anterior resection
  • Sigmoid colectomy
  • Splenic flexure mobilization


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