, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 1130-1137
Date: 06 Oct 2012

Laparoscopic surgery improves postoperative outcomes in high-risk patients with colorectal cancer

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Patients with significant comorbidities often are denied laparoscopic colorectal resections, because they are thought to be too “high-risk.” This study was designed to examine the feasibility and safety of laparoscopic colorectal resections in high-risk colorectal cancer patients and to compare them with a similar cohort of patients undergoing open resections in the same time period.


This was a single-center, prospective, cohort study conducted at a high-volume, nonuniversity, tertiary care hospital. From a database of 616 patients submitted to elective colorectal surgery for cancer within a fast-track protocol (January 2005 to November 2011), 188 patients who met at least one minor (age >80 years and body mass index (BMI) >30 m/kg2) and one major (cardiac, pulmonary, renal or liver disease, diabetes mellitus) criterion were classified as high-risk. Differences in baseline characteristics, intraoperative outcomes, and short-term (30-day) postoperative outcomes, as well as the pathology findings and the readmission and reoperation rates, were compared between the open and laparoscopic cohorts in both high- and low-risk groups and between high- and low-risk groups.


During the study period, 68 high-risk patients underwent laparoscopic resections and 120 had open surgeries. A shorter length of postoperative stay (6 vs. 9 days, p < 0.0001) and fewer postoperative nonsurgical complications (4 % vs. 19 %, p = 0.003) were observed among the laparoscopic group. Postoperative major (p = 0.774) and minor complications (p = 0.3) and reoperations (p = 0.196) were similar between the two groups, and a significantly lower rate of mortality (1.5 vs. 7.5 %, p = 0.038) was observed in the laparoscopic group than in the open group.


Laparoscopic colorectal resection can be safely performed on “high-risk” surgical patients with better results than a similar group of high-risk patients undergoing open colon resections.