Clinical advantages of laparoscopic colorectal cancer surgery in the elderly

Research paper by Bo Feng, Min-Hua Zheng, Zhi-Hai Mao, Jian-Wen Li, Ai-Guo Lu, Ming-Liang Wang, Wei-Guo Hu, Feng Dong, Yan-Yan Hu, Lu Zang, Hong-Wei Li

Indexed on: 25 Jul '13Published on: 25 Jul '13Published in: Aging Clinical and Experimental Research


Background and aims: Elderly patients have a high incidence of colorectal cancer, which may be associated with increased morbidity and mortality due to complex comorbidity and diminished cardiopulmonary reserves. The aims of this study were to compare the outcomes of laparoscopic colorectal cancer surgery with those observed in traditional open surgery in patients aged over 70 years. Methods: Between January 2003 and October 2004, 51 patients aged over 70 years with colorectal cancer, who underwent laparoscopic surgery (LAP group), were evaluated and compared with 102 controls (also over 70 years old) treated by traditional open surgery (OPEN group) in the same period. All patients were evaluated with respect to the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) classification, surgery-related complications, and postoperative recovery. Results: No surgery-related death was observed in the LAP group, whereas two deaths occurred in the OPEN group for severe post-operative pulmonary infection and anastomotic leak, respectively. No pneumoperitoneum-related complications were observed in the LAP group; 2 (3.9%) patients required conversion to open surgery, because of the unexpectedly bulky tumor and severe adhesions in the abdominal cavity. With the increase in patients’ age, increased ASA classification was observed. No significant differences were observed in gender, Dukes’ staging or types of procedures between LAP and OPEN groups. The overall morbidity in the LAP group was significantly less than that of the OPEN group [17.6% (9/51) vs 37.3% (38/102), p=0.013]. Mean blood loss, time to flatus passage, and time to semi-liquid diet in the LAP group were significantly shorter than those of the OPEN group (90.7±49.9 vs 150.3±108.7ml, 2.4±1.2 vs 3.5±2.9 d, 5.0±1.8 vs 5.9±1.2 d, respectively, p<0.05). No significant differences were observed in terms of mean operation time or hospital stay between LAP and OPEN groups. Conclusion: Laparoscopic colorectal cancer surgery in elderly patients with colon cancer has clinically significant advantages over traditional open surgery, and appears to be the ideal surgical choice for the elderly.