Laparoscopic colorectal surgery – why would you not want to have it and, more importantly, not be trained in it? A consecutive series of 500 elective resections with anastomoses

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AimWe analysed the outcome of a consecutive series of 500 unselected patients who underwent elective laparoscopic colorectal resection with anastomosis (ELCRA) under the care of a single surgeon.MethodA prospectively collected electronic database of all laparoscopic procedures conducted from April 2001 to September 2008 was analysed.ResultsA total of 500 ELCRAs were performed [230 male and 270 female patients; mean age 65.6 years (range 19–93 years; American Society of Anesthesiologists grade I (103), II (246), III (145) and IV (6)]. Of these, 217 patients underwent high anterior resection. A total of 131 total mesorectal excisions (55 covering ileostomies), 152 right/extended right resections and 240 operations were performed by trainees under supervision. The indications for surgery included cancer (340), diverticular disease (96), Crohn's disease (40) and polyps (24). Mean operating time was 115 min (range 35–550 min). There were eight (1.6%) conversions. The mean length of hospital stay was 5.2 days (median 4 days). A total of 93 (18.6%) patients had an inpatient complication, including ileus (22), wound infection (14), anastomotic leakage (12), enterotomy (2), ‘off-screen’ enterotomy (2), abscess (3), ureteric injury (1), cardiac arrhythmia (12), myocardial infarction (5), pulmonary embolus (4), pneumonia (1), Clostridium difficile (3) and retention of urine (9). There were 20 (4%) readmissions for complications, including ileus (4), urinary retention (3), abscess formation (2) and leakage (2). The 30-day mortality was nine of 500 (1.8%) following anastomotic leakage (3), duodenal enterotomy (1), bleeding duodenal ulcer (1), C. difficile infection (1) and cardiac complications (3).ConclusionThis unselected cohort of patients (the largest single surgeon series in the UK) demonstrates that in trained hands low conversion and complication rates can be consistently achieved.

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