Long-term outcome and health-related quality of life after laparoscopic and open colectomy for benign disease

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The benefits of laparoscopic colectomy (LC) vs open colectomy (OC) for the treatment of benign disease have not yet been clearly demonstrated with regard to long-term consequences and health-related quality of life (HRQL). The aim of this study was to compare LC and OC in terms of outcome and HRQL and to determine whether a generic nonspecific instrument for HRQL assessment is valid in postoperative follow-up.


Forty-nine patients who underwent LC for elective right hemicolectomy (RH) or sigmoid resection (SR) for benign polyps or uncomplicated diverticular disease between 1992 and 2000 were evaluated and compared to 50 controls treated by OC in the same period. All patients were evaluated by postal questionnaire to determine recurrence rates and surgery-related complications. HRQL was assessed by the SF-36 Physical and Mental Component Summary Score (PCS, MCS) and by the SF-36 Health Survey, which measures eight different health-quality domains, including physical and social functioning (PF, SF), general health perception (GH), physical and emotional role limitations (RP, RE), body pain (BP), vitality (VT), and mental health (MH).


The LC and OC patients were similar in age, gender, body mass index (BMI), American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) classification, and diagnosis. There were significant differences between the two groups in resection type (26 RH:23 SR in LC vs 16 RH:34 SR in OC, p = 0.03) and length of follow-up (median, 39 and 53.5 months, respectively, p = 0.04), but neither parameter was predictive of the main SF-36 scores (PCS and MCS). There were no differences between the groups in recurrence rates (8% in LC vs 11% in OC) or surgery-related complications, including incisional hernias (16.3% in LC vs 17% in OC) and small bowel obstructions (2% in LC vs 10.4% in OC). None of the eight SF-36 Health Survey domains or the PCS or MCS scores showed significant differences between LC and OC patients in HRQL. However, occurrence of hernia after surgery was predictive of lower SF-36 scores, specifically in PF (p = 0.047), GH (p = 0.045), SF (p = 0.047), MH (p = 0.041), and MCS (p = 0.037). In addition, small bowel obstruction was significantly associated with lower scores in BP (p = 0.008), GH (p = 0.008), SF (p = 0.013), RE (p = 0.026), MH (p = 0.003), and MCS (p = 0.003).


LC was not different from OC for selected indications that measure long-term outcome and HRQL. SF-36 appears to be an appropriate instrument to measure postoperative HRQL, showing responsiveness to changes in objective outcome measures.

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