Objective: To investigate the safety of laparoscopic colorectal cancer resections in a nationwide population-based study.
Background: Although laparoscopic techniques are increasingly used in colorectal cancer surgery, little is known on results outside trials. With the fast introduction of laparoscopic resection (LR), questions were raised about safety.
Methods: Of all patients who underwent an elective colorectal cancer resection in 2010 in the Netherlands, 93% were included in the Dutch Surgical Colorectal Audit. Short-term outcome after LR, open resection (OR), and converted LR were compared in a generalized linear mixed model. We further explored hospital differences in LR and conversion rates.
Results: A total of 7350 patients, treated in 90 hospitals, were included. LR rate was 41% with a conversion rate of 15%. After adjustment for differences in case-mix, LR was associated with a lower risk of mortality (odds ratio 0.63, P < 0.01), major morbidity (odds ratio 0.72, P < 0.01), any complications (odds ratio 0.74, P < 0.01), hospital stay more than 14 days (odds ratio 0.71, P < 0.01), and irradical resections (odds ratio 0.68, P < 0.01), compared to OR. Outcome after conversion was similar to OR (P > 0.05). A large variation in LR and conversion rates among hospitals was found; however, the difference in outcome associated with operative techniques was not influenced by hospital of treatment.
Conclusions: Use of laparoscopic techniques in colorectal cancer surgery in the Netherlands is safe and results are better in short-term outcome than open surgery, irrespective of the hospital of treatment. Outcome after conversion was similar to OR.