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The incidence of colorectal cancer increases with age. Since there is a high morbidity rate in the elderly, the laparoscopic approach, with its lower complication rate, appears to be the ideal choice for treatment of this patient group. In this retrospective study we aim to report the short term results of laparoscopic and open colectomy in patients 80 years of age or older.Ninety-three patients aged 80 years and over who underwent open or laparoscopic colectomy for carcinoma, between 2005 and 2008 were included. There were 48 patients with a mean age of 83.1 years in the laparoscopic group, and 45 with a mean age of 82.2 in the open group.There were more patients with lung disease in the laparoscopy group (P < 0.05),no significant differences of other co-morbidities and the ASA Score. The operative time was shorter in the open group. Hospital stay was shorter in the laparoscopy group (7.1 vs 8.8 days). There were more postoperative complications in the open surgery group.Laparoscopic colectomy in the elderly is safe, and carries a short term benefit for selected patients. In the absence of contraindications, laparoscopic colectomy could be offered to all elderly patients.