Purpose. Surgery for gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) of the stomach is now frequently performed using a laparoscopic approach. We investigated the feasibility and effectiveness of laparoscopy in the management of GIST of the stomach. Methods. We reviewed the records of 12 consecutive patients who underwent laparoscopic surgery for GIST between April 2000 and April 2004, and compared their short-term outcomes with those of patients who underwent open surgery. All laparoscopic wedge resections were done using stapling devices and 3-4 trocars, often with the aid of intraoperative gastroscopy. We examined all patients preoperatively using various diagnostic modalities, including endoscopic ultrasonography-guided fine-needle aspiration (EUS-FNA). A laparoscopic approach was not indicated if the tumor was located near the cardia or pylorus or if it was ≥5 cm in diameter. Results. A specific diagnosis of GIST was obtained preoperatively by EUS-FNA in 10 of the 12 patients. The median diameter of the lesion was 2.7 cm (range, 1.5-4.8 cm). Although intraoperative complications were encountered in two patients, conversion to open surgery was not required, and we were able to perform complete tumor excision with negative surgical margins in all patients. The median operative time was 100 min (range, 65-180 min), similar to that for open surgery. First flatus was passed earlier, and the interval to resuming oral intake was shorter than after open surgery. No major postoperative complications such as leakage developed, and the median postoperative hospital stay was 7 days (range, 5-12 days). All diagnoses made by EUS-FNA were confirmed by immunohisto-pathological evaluation of resected specimens. Conclusion. Laparoscopic wedge resection is a feasible treatment option for GISTs of the stomach if the lesion is <5 cm in diameter.
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