Systematic review of laparoscopic surgery in low- and middle-income countries: benefits, challenges, and strategies.

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Surgical Endoscopy


RESULTS: A total of 1101 abstracts were reviewed, and 58 articles were included describing laparoscopy in 25 LMICs. Laparoscopy is particularly advantageous in LMICs, where there is often poor sanitation, limited diagnostic imaging, fewer hospital beds, higher rates of hemorrhage, rising rates of trauma, and single income households. Lack of trained personnel and equipment were frequently cited challenges. Adaptive strategies included mechanical insufflation with room air, syringe suction, homemade endoloops, hand-assisted techniques, extracorporeal knot tying, innovative use of cheaper instruments, and reuse of disposable instruments. Inexpensive laboratory-based trainers and telemedicine are effective for training.

CONCLUSIONS: LMICs face many surgical challenges that require innovation. Laparoscopic surgery may be safe, effective, feasible, and cost-effective in LMICs, although it often remains limited in its accessibility, acceptability, and quality. This study may not capture articles written in languages other than English or in journals not indexed by the included databases. Surgeons, policymakers, and manufacturers should focus on plans for sustainability, training and retention of providers, and regulation of efforts to develop laparoscopy in LMICs.

Peer Reviewed