BACKGROUND: It is a common belief that a laparoscopic procedure results in a shorter duration of postoperative ileus compared with the equivalent open procedure. This study was undertaken to determine whether laparoscopically assisted right hemicolectomy in the dog results in a shorter duration of ileus compared with open right hemicolectomy. METHODS: Eight bipolar serosal electrodes (4 on the small bowel, 4 on the left colon) were implanted in each dog (n = 10). Three weeks after electrode implantation baseline recording was made for 5 days; then 5 dogs underwent laparoscopically assisted right hemicolectomy and 5 underwent open right hemicolectomy. Myoelectric activity was recorded continuously for 72 hours postoperatively. Tracings were analyzed for the time of reappearance, duration, migration velocity, and cycle length of phase 2, phase 3, and the migrating colonic complex. The criteria used for the resolution of postoperative ileus were the return of phase 2, phase 3, and the migrating colonic complex. RESULTS: All dogs had temporary loss of organized myoelectric activity postoperatively. The mean reappearance time (minutes ± standard deviation) for phase 3 was 857 ± 574 versus 761 ± 600; the phase 2 reappearance time was 1,845 ± 610 versus 1,590 ± 668; and the migrating colonic complex reappearance time was 534 ± 365 versus 572 ± 552, open versus laparoscopically assisted right hemicolectomy, respectively. The times were not different (Wilcoxon rank sum test, P > 0.05). The time required for phase 3, phase 2, and the migrating colonic complex to attain preoperative configuration also was not different between the open and laparoscopically assisted group. CONCLUSION: Myoelectric resolution of postoperative ileus did not occur earlier in the dog undergoing laparoscopically assisted right hemicolectomy compared to the dog undergoing open right hemicolectomy. This data does not support the hypothesis that a laparoscopically assisted colectomy results in a shorter duration of postoperative ileus than the equivalent open procedure.
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