Objective: In a large nationwide administrative database of hospitalized patients, we investigated postoperative outcomes after laparoscopic or open distal gastrectomy in Japan.
Background: The benefits of laparoscopic gastrectomy, such as decreased length of stay and morbidity, have typically been evaluated only with limited data on the basis of small samples.
Methods: Using the Japanese Diagnosis Procedure Combination Database, we identified 9388 patients who were preoperatively diagnosed with stage I and II gastric cancer and underwent laparoscopic (n = 3937) or open (n = 5451) distal gastrectomy between July and December 2010. One-to-one propensity score matching was performed to compare in-hospital mortality, postoperative complication rates, length of stay, total costs, and 30-day readmission rates between the 2 groups.
Results: Patients with younger age, lower comorbidity index, or stage I cancer were more likely to receive laparoscopic gastrectomy. In the propensity-matched analysis with 2473 pairs, the laparoscopic gastrectomy group in comparison with the open gastrectomy group showed a slight reduction in median postoperative length of stay (13 days vs 15 days, P < 0.001) but a slight increase in median total costs (US $21,510 vs $21,024, P = 0.002). There were no significant differences in in-hospital mortality (0.36% vs 0.28%, P = 0.80), overall postoperative complications (12.9% vs 12.6%, P = 0.73), or 30-day readmission rates (3.2% vs 3.2%, P = 0.94).
Conclusions: In this large nationwide cohort of patients with early-stage gastric cancer, laparoscopic gastrectomy was associated with a statistically significant but slight reduction in postoperative length of stay, but no differences between laparoscopic gastrectomy and open gastrectomy were detected in terms of early mortality and morbidity.