, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 401-405
Date: 24 May 2007

Do elderly patients benefit from laparoscopic colorectal surgery?

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The steadily increasing age of the population mandates that potential benefits of new techniques and technologies be considered for older patients.


To analyze the short-term outcomes of laparoscopic (LAP) colorectal surgery in elderly compared to younger patients, and to patients who underwent laparotomy (OP).


A retrospective analysis of patients who underwent elective sigmoid colectomies for diverticular disease or ileo-colic resections for benign disorders; patients with stomas were excluded. There were two groups: age < 65 years (A) and age ≥ 65 years (B). Parameters included demographics, body mass index (BMI), length of operation (LO), incision length (LI), length of hospitalization (LOS), morbidity and mortality.


641 patients (M/F – 292/349) were included between July 1991 and June 2006; 407 in group A and 234 in group B. There were significantly more LAP procedures in group A (244/407 – 60%) than in group B (106/234 – 45%) – p = 0.0003. Conversion rates were similar: 61/244 (25%) in group A, and 25/106 (24%) in group B (p = 0.78). There was no difference in LO between the groups in any type of operation. LOS was shorter in patients in group A who underwent OP: 7.1 (3–17) days versus 8.7 (4–22) days in group B (p <0.0001), and LAP: 5.3 (2–19) days versus 6.4 (2–34) days in group B (p = 0.01). In both groups LOS in the LAP group was significantly shorter than in OP group. There were no significant differences in major complications or mortality between the two groups; however, the complication rates in the OP groups were significantly higher than in LAP and CON combined (p = 0.003).


Elderly patients who undergo LAP have a significantly shorter LOS and fewer complications compared to elderly patients who undergo OP. Laparoscopy should be considered in all patients in whom ileo-colic or sigmoid resection is planned regardless of age.

The study was accepted as a podium presentation in SAGES Scientific Sessions April 2007, Las Vegas, Nevada