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To systematically review the available evidence on quality of life in patients after laparoscopic or open colorectal surgery.A systematic review was performed of all randomized clinical trials (RCTs) comparing laparoscopic with open colorectal surgery. Study selection, quality assessment and data extraction was independently carried out by two reviewers. Primary endpoint was quality of life after laparoscopic and open colorectal surgery, as assessed by validated questionnaires.The search resulted in nine RCTs, comprising 2263 patients. Short-and long-term results of these nine RCTs were described in 13 articles. Postoperative follow-up ranged from 2 days to6.7 years. Due to clinical heterogeneity, no meta-analysis could be conducted. Four RCTs did not show any difference in quality of life between laparoscopic or open colorectal surgery. The remaining five studies reported a better quality of life in favour of the laparoscopic group on a few quality of life scales at time points ranging from 1 week to 2 years after surgery.Based onpresently available high-level evidence, this systematic review showed no clinically relevant differences in postoperative quality of life between laparoscopic and open colorectal surgery.