Short- and long-term outcome following laparoscopic versus open resection for carcinoma of the rectum in the multimodal setting

Ilmo H Kellokumpu, Matti I Kairaluoma, Kyösti P Nuorva, Hannu J Kautiainen, Ismo T Jantunen
Diseases of the Colon and Rectum 2012, 55 (8): 854-63

BACKGROUND: Laparoscopic resection for rectal cancer has remained controversial because of the lack of level 1 evidence regarding oncologic safety and long-term survival.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to assess the impact of laparoscopic versus open resection for rectal cancer on clinical and oncologic outcome in the multimodal setting.

DESIGN: This is a review of prospectively gathered data from a single-institution rectal cancer database.

SETTINGS: This study was conducted in the Central Hospital of Central Finland.

PATIENTS: From January 1999 to December 2006, 191 selected patients were included.

INTERVENTIONS: One hundred patients underwent laparoscopic resection, and 91 patients, also suitable for laparoscopic surgery, underwent open major rectal resection in the multimodal setting.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The main measures of outcome were early recovery and short- and long-term morbidity; local recurrence and survival were secondary outcomes.

LIMITATIONS: This is not a randomized study.

RESULTS: The study groups were balanced for baseline characteristics. Conversion rate to open surgery was 22%. Laparoscopic surgery resulted in significantly less bleeding (175 mL vs 500 mL, p < 0.001), 1 day earlier recovery of normal diet (3 days vs 4 days, p = 0.001), and shorter postoperative hospital stay (7 days vs 9 days, p < 0.001). Postoperative 30-day mortality (1% vs 3%), morbidity (31% vs 43%), readmission (11% vs 15%), and reoperation (6% vs 9%) rates were similar in the 2 groups, but significantly fewer patients in the laparoscopic group had long-term complications (19% vs 36%, p = 0.033). The 5-year disease-free survival (78% vs 80%, p = 0.74) and local recurrence (5% vs 6%, p = 0.66) rates were similar in the laparoscopic and open group for those 175 patients treated for cure.

CONCLUSION: Laparoscopic surgery resulted in faster postoperative recovery and fewer long-term complications than open surgery without apparently compromising the long-term oncologic outcome. Our results indicate that laparoscopic rectal resection is an acceptable alternative to open surgery in selected patients with rectal cancer.

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