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Management of obstructive colorectal cancer with endoscopic stenting followed by single-stage surgery: open or laparoscopic resection?

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About one-third of patients with colorectal carcinoma present with acute colonic obstruction requiring emergency surgery. Current surgical options are intraoperative lavage and resection of the colonic segment involved with primary anastomosis, subtotal colectomy with primary anastomosis, colostomy followed by resection, and resection of the colonic segment involved with end colostomy (Hartmann’s procedure) requiring a second operation to reconstruct the colon. These procedures present risks and a poor quality of life. Endoscopic colonic stent insertion can effectively decompress the obstructed colon, allowing bowel preparation and elective resection.


The authors present their experience managing 31 patients with obstructing colorectal cancer who underwent endoscopic colonic decompression with self-expanding metallic stents. A total of 16 patients were treated with open resection, and 6 underwent a laparoscopic resection. The remaining 9 patients were managed with endoscopic palliation and adjuvant therapy. Of the 31 patients, 17 were treated with postoperative chemotherapy.


The mean interval between stenting and surgery was 11 days (range, 1–21 days). There was no intraoperative morbidity. The incidence of postoperative morbidity was 20% for open surgery and 0% for laparoscopic surgery. The mean postoperative hospital stay was 13 days for the open surgery group, and 7 days for the laparoscopic group (p = 0.003). The hospital mortality rate was 3.2%. Follow-up evaluation was completed for 96% of the patients. The minimum follow-up period was 15 months. All the patients in the palliative group died of disease, with a median survival of 3 months. Of the 22 surgically treated patients, 17 (77%) are alive at this writing.


This initial experience shows that after successful endoscopic stenting of malignant colorectal obstruction, elective surgical resection can be performed safely. The presence of the endoluminal stent does not prevent a laparoscopic approach. The combined endoscopic and laparoscopic procedures are a less invasive alternative to the multistage open operations and offer a faster recovery.

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Correspondence to F. Stipa.

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Stipa, F., Pigazzi, A., Bascone, B. et al. Management of obstructive colorectal cancer with endoscopic stenting followed by single-stage surgery: open or laparoscopic resection?. Surg Endosc 22, 1477–1481 (2008).

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