Treatment of adhesion-related complications is cost intensive and presents a considerable burden to the health care system. The objective of this study was to compare open (OLA) and laparoscopic lysis of adhesions (LLA) in the treatment of intestinal obstruction, based on a nationwide representative sample.
Patients with intestinal obstruction undergoing OLA, LLA, and conversion were identified from the 2002 National Inpatient Sample. After propensity methods were used to adjust for covariates including patient demographics, hospital characteristics, and comorbidities, the impact of OLA and LLA was analyzed concerning in-hospital mortality, postoperative complications, length of stay (LOS), and in-hospital costs.
Of 6,165 patients, 88.6% underwent OLA and 11.4% had LLA. Conversion was required in 17.2% of LLA patients. Unadjusted mortality was equal between LLA and conversion (1.7%) and half the rate compared with OLA (3.4%) (p = 0.014). After adjusting with propensity methods, the odds of complications in the LLA group (intention to treat) were 25% less than in the OLA (p = 0.008). The LLA group had a 27% shorter LOS (p = 0.0001) and was 9% less expensive than the OLA group (p = 0.0003). There was no statistical significant difference for LOS, complications, and costs between the conversion and OLA groups.
Results from this study suggest that when LLA is applied to selected patients with intestinal obstruction, there are reductions in postoperative complications, LOS, and costs. Prospective studies are needed to confirm these data and better identify the subgroup of patients who have improved outcomes with LLA.