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To assess long term outcomes after laparoscopic versus open surgery for resectable colorectal cancer in older people.Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were identified from Pubmed, Embase, the Cochrane Library and hand searching major journals, between 1990 and April 2010. Long term outcomes included survival, adhesions, incisional hernia and disease recurrenceAfter exclusions, 13 RCTs were identified. The open group contained 2179 participants and the laparoscopic group 2416. The average age in the open group was 67.2 years, range 24-94. The average age in the laparoscopic group was 65.8 years, range 28-96. No subgroup analyses were performed in older people. No long term differences in outcome were detected in older people between the two groups.While most trials contained older people, there was a comparative lack of information. Evidence regarding surgical management of older people is based on populations with an average age lower than current population demographics. It may not be possible to draw conclusions from the current dataset regarding differences in outcome in the older person. Future studies should report outcomes specific to older people.