Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical outcome of laparoscopic surgery for Crohn's disease and clarify the indications using the Vienna Classification. Method: Between September 1994 and July 2004, 107 patients with Crohn's disease underwent 124 procedures. Of these, 91 laparoscopic procedures formed the basis of this study. The Vienna Classification, which consists of three subgroups - age at diagnosis (A1-2), location (L1-4) and behaviour (B1-3) - was applied to compare the conversion to open surgery and incidence of postoperative complications. Results: Conversion to open surgery was necessary in 12 (13.2%) patients. Major and minor postoperative complications occurred in five (5.5%) and 13 (19.8%) patients respectively. The conversion rate, major and total complications in the B3L3/4 subgroup were significantly greater than in the other subgroups. Multivariate analysis showed that B3L3/4 was the only predictive factor for all complications. However, the incidence of major and all complications in the B3L3/4 subgroup did not differ between the open and laparoscopic surgery groups. Conclusion: Laparoscopic surgery for Crohn's disease is the procedure of choice for all uncomplicated cases (B2L1-4, B3L1/2). For patients in the complicated group (B3L3/4), laparoscopy is also feasible and justified; however, the surgeon must be aware of the propensity for higher rate of conversion.
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