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To compare actual 90-day hospital costs between elective open and laparoscopic colon and rectal cancer resection in a daily practice multicenter setting stratified for operative risk.Laparoscopic resection has developed as a commonly accepted surgical procedure for colorectal cancer. There are conflicting data on the influence of laparoscopy on hospital costs, without separate analyses based on operative risk.Retrospective analyses using a population-based database (Dutch Surgical Colorectal Audit). All elective resections for a T1-3N0-2M0 stage colorectal cancer were included between 2010 and 2012 in 29 Dutch hospitals. Operative risk was stratified for age (<75 years or ≥75 years) and ASA status (I-II/III-IV). Ninety-day hospital costs were measured uniformly in all hospitals based on time-driven activity-based costing.Total 90-day hospital costs ranged from €10474 to €20865 in the predefined subgroups. For colon cancer surgery (N = 4202), laparoscopic resection was significant less expensive than open resection in all subgroups, savings because of laparoscopy ranged from €409 (<75 years ASA I-II) to €1932 (≥75 years ASA I-II). In patients ≥75 years and ASA I-II, laparoscopic resection was associated with 46% less mortality (P = 0.05), 41% less severe complications (P < 0.001), 25% less hospital stay (P = 0.013), and 65% less ICU stay (P < 0.001). For rectal cancer surgery (N=2328), all laparoscopic subgroups had significantly higher total hospital costs, ranging from €501 (<75 years ASA I-II) to €2515 (≥75 years ASA III-IV).Laparoscopic resection resulted in the largest cost reduction in patients over 75 years with ASA I-II undergoing colonic resection, and the largest cost increase in patients over 75 years with ASA III-IV undergoing rectal resection as compared with an open approach.