Background and Objectives:
The excellent outcomes reported for laparoscopic colorectal surgery in selected patients could also be potentially advantageous for high risk patients. This prospective study was designed to examine the feasibility and safety of laparoscopic resection in high risk patients with colorectal cancer.
Between 2006 and 2008 consecutive patients undergoing elective surgery for colorectal cancer were stratified into high and low risk groups. High risk was defined as ≥80 years, American Society of Anesthesiologists ≥3, preoperative radiotherapy, T4 tumor and BMI ≥30. Outcomes included median length of stay, lymph node yield, resection margins, 30-day hospital readmission, postoperative mortality and major postoperative complications requiring reoperation within 30 days of surgery.
A total of 424 patients underwent elective laparoscopic (224) and open (200) resections. Overall mortality rate for laparoscopic resection was 1 of 224 (0.4%) versus 4 of 200 (2%) for open resection. Median length of stay was 4 (2–33) versus 10 (1–69) days (P < 0.0001), and rate of complications requiring reoperation was 2 of 224 (0.8%) compared with 10 of 200 (5%) (P = 0.02).
Among the 280 (66%) “high risk” patients, 146 had laparoscopic resection (8 conversions; 5%) and 134 had open resections. Median hospital stay was 4 (2–33) days in the laparoscopic group versus 11 (1–69) days in the open group (P < 0.0001). Complications requiring reoperation were 2 of 146 (1.4%) after laparoscopic resection versus 7 of 134 (5.2%) after open resection (P < 0.09). Readmission rate after laparoscopic resection was 12.3% versus 5.2% after open resection (P = 0.06).
Laparoscopic resection of colorectal cancer can achieve excellent results even in “high risk” patients and is associated with significant reductions in length of stay compared with open resection.