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Outcome of Laparoscopic Surgery for Rectal Cancer in 101 Patients

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Diseases of the Colon & Rectum


PURPOSE: This study was conducted to investigate the feasibility of laparoscopic resection of rectal cancer and to compare early outcome data with the results of the conventional technique. METHODS: From January 1996 to March 2002, 435 patients with primary rectal cancer were operated on at our institution. Low-risk, small rectal tumors treatable by local excision, rectal cancer recurrences, and emergency cases were excluded from the analysis. Three hundred thirty-four patients were operated on by the conventional open approach. One hundred one selected patients underwent surgery by the laparoscopic technique. RESULTS: Because of the selection process, significantly more patients with early tumor stages were operated on by laparoscopy. There were no differences in mean operation time, morbidity, mortality, or the anastomotic leakage rate; however, the need for intraoperative transfusion, mean stay in the intensive care unit, and length of hospital stay were reduced significantly. CONCLUSIONS: In terms of the intraoperative and early postoperative course, the laparoscopic resection of rectal cancer in a selected cohort of patients compares favorably with the open technique. Because follow- up time is limited to date, only very preliminary information can be given on tumor-related outcome data. However, these preliminary data appear to suggest that rectal cancer resection can be performed by laparoscopy in accordance with established principles of cancer therapy and that port-site metastases are not a relevant clinical problem. Prospective, randomized trials are required to determine whether the laparoscopic approach will play a significant role in the treatment of rectal cancer in the future.

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Anthuber, M., Alois Fuerst, M.D., Florian Elser, M.D., Rita Berger, M.D., Karl-Walter Jauch, M.D.. Outcome of Laparoscopic Surgery for Rectal Cancer in 101 Patients. Dis Colon Rectum 46, 1047–1053 (2003).

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