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Background: gastrointestinal tract duplications (Atd) are rare malformations that occur with an incidence of 1 in 4000-5000 live births, with heterogeneous clinical pictures in relation to the different location and size. the purpose of this study was to analyze the role of minimally invasive surgery in the management of Atds, through a critical analysys of 15 years of experience of the department of Paediatric Surgery, university of Bologna. Methods: the medical records of 22 children diagnosed with Atds were retrospectively reviewed (January 1995–August 2010). the study analyses: clinical presentation, preoperative diagnosis, site, anatomic type, treatment, and outcome. Results: Children were 16 males and 6 females, with age ranged from 1 day to 10 years. 20 Atds (91%) were cystic type, while 2 cases (9%) were tubular one. during the first period of our experience, 10 (45.5%) cases were approached with an open surgery. then subsequent 8 (36.4%) cases were treated with a diagnostic laparoscopy. this approach permitted also to perform a minilaparotomy, close to the site of the malformation, with a short length of the scar. in 2 cases (9%), we realized an ileal resection with end-to-end anastomosis with a trans-umbilical video-assisted procedure. in 2 cases (9%), we performed a complete removal of the lesions, after complete ligation of the vascular pedicle through a laparoscopic approach. 10 cases (45.5%) were located in the ileum, 6 cases (27.3%) were esophageal duplication, 3 cases (13.6%) were gastric duplications, 2 cases (9%) were located in the colon-rectum. the postoperative course was uneventful in all the cases. Discussions and conclusions: this study shows how, in the management of intestinal duplications, a mininvasive approach, is increasingly taking the field, along with increasing the “learning curve” with laparoscopy. in experienced hands, the laparoscopic approach allows an accurate definition of the exact site of duplication and a miniinvasive treatment with similar principles of open techniques.
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