PURPOSE: The purpose was to determine if the perioperative benefits associated with laparoscopic colectomies are maintained as operative time increases.
METHODS: A retrospective review was performed of a database that was prospectively collected from April 1991 to May 2005. Since operative time distributions were different, patients were divided into three groups: laparoscopic right colectomy or ileocecal resection, sigmoid resection, and total abdominal colectomy. The following outcomes were assessed: intraoperative and postoperative complications, days to surgical diet, length of stay, 30-day mortality, and the presence of a learning curve.
RESULTS: Following exclusions, there were 231 right colon and ileocecal resections, 210 sigmoid colectomies, and 46 total abdominal colectomies. With increasing operative time in both right/ileocecal and sigmoid resections, logistic regression demonstrated no significant association between intraoperative and postoperative complications, days to surgical diet, or length of stay. Weight was significantly correlated with increasing operative time in the right/ileocecal and sigmoid resection groups. In the total abdominal colectomy group, significant relationships between increased operative time and postoperative complications (P = 0.04), days to surgical diet (P = 0.02), and hospital stay (P = 0.03) were found. An operative time cut-point was determined in the total abdominal colectomy group. Patients with operative times >270 minutes were more likely to have postoperative complications (P = 0.024), longer ileus (five vs. three median days to surgical diet, P = 0.003), and longer length of stay (seven vs. five days, P = 0.04). This increased risk remained significant after adjusting for weight and diagnosis. No significant learning curve was identified.
CONCLUSION: Increasing operative time does not appear to adversely affect perioperative outcomes in segmental colectomies. Total abdominal colectomies lasting more than 270 minutes were associated with increased postoperative complications, days to surgical diet, and length of stay.