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Surg Endosc. 2005 Apr;19(4):531-5. Epub 2005 Mar 11.

Laparoscopic vs open total colectomy: a case-matched comparative study.

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  • 1Department of Colorectal Surgery/A-30, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA.



Open total colectomy and ileorectal anastomosis (OTC) is a major colorectal procedure which would preclude laparoscopy in many centers because of technical difficulty and the fact that laparoscopic total colectomy (LTC) takes much longer than standard laparoscopic proctosigmoidectomy (LPS). This study compares OTC with LTC and LPS.


In this study, 34 LTC patients (May 1999 to August 2003) were matched for age, diagnosis, operative period, and procedure with patients undergoing OTC. Patients with a previous major laparotomy were excluded from the open group. Groups were compared for gender, American Society of Anesthesiology (ASA) classification, operating time, estimated blood loss, length of hospital stay (LOS), complications including readmissions, and costs. The LPS cases were picked randomly from the laparoscopic database (every eighth patient), and the OT and LOS were noted.


The LTC and OTC groups were matched for age (mean, 31 vs 34 years; p = 0.2), sex (14 vs 13 females; p = 0.8), ASA (8/23/3/0 vs 8/22/4/0, class 1/2/3/4). The body mass index was higher in the open group (23.8 vs 27.9; p = 0.04). The operating time was significantly longer (187 vs 126 min; p = 0.0001) and the median LOS shorter in the LTC group (3 days [IQR, 2.5-5 days] vs 6 days [IQR 4-8 days]; p = 0.0001). The estimated blood loss was significantly less in the LTC group (168 [50-700] ml) vs 238 [50-800] ml); p = 0.001, but there was no significant difference in the complication (26.5% vs 38.2%; p = 0.4) readmission (11.8% vs 14.7%; p = 1.0), reoperative rates (8.8% vs 11.8%; p = 1.0), or direct costs ($4,578 vs $4,562; p = 0.3). One LTC patient died expired on postoperative day 2 of a cardiac event. Four patients (11.8%) required conversion for obesity (n = 2), adhesions (n = 1), or intraoperative hemorrhage (n = 1). The operating times were 36 min longer in the LTC group than in the LPS group (151 vs 187 min; p = 0.02), but there was no significant difference in the LOS. (3 vs 3 days, p = 0.2).


The findings show that LTC provides a significant decrease in the LOS over OTC, with increased operating time, but without any change in other parameters. A laparoscopic approach to subtotal colectomy is recommended for suitable patients when an experienced team is available.

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