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Br J Surg. 1997 Mar;84(3):343-7.

Audit of colorectal cancer surgery by non-specialist surgeons.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, UK.



Some authorities recommend that colorectal cancer should be treated in specialist units but evidence that non-specialist units demonstrate comparatively poor results may be lacking.


Between 1987 and 1991, 267 patients were operated on by four general surgeons, none of whom was a specialist in colorectal surgery. Procedure-related complications, postoperative mortality and disease-related survival rates were analysed.


There were four cases of intraperitoneal sepsis (1 per cent) and five of 189 patients (3 per cent) had clinical anastomotic dehiscence; there was no case of wound dehiscence. The postoperative mortality rate after elective and emergency surgery was 2 and 13 per cent respectively. The 5-year disease-related survival rate for curative and palliative surgery was 67 and 9 per cent respectively. There were no significant differences between the surgeons.


Disease-related variables such as early-stage disease and fewer patients presenting as emergencies may have a greater favourable influence on ultimate survival than surgeon-related variables.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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