BACKGROUND: Open colorectal surgery in the elderly has been associated with higher morbidity and mortality rates. The favorable short-term outcomes of laparosocopic colorectal resection might reduce the morbidity in elderly patients. This study compares results of elderly patients (aged 70 and above) who underwent laparoscopic colorectal resection with those having open surgery. STUDY DESIGN: Consecutive patients aged 70 and above who had elective colorectal resection from June 2000 to December 2001 were included. Data concerning demographics, diseases, details of operations, and postoperative events were collected prospectively. Comparisons between results of laparoscopic surgery and open surgery were made. RESULTS: Sixty-five patients had laparoscopic colectomy and 89 had open surgery during the study period. Median ages were 77 years and 75 years in the open and laparoscopic groups, respectively. Presence of premorbid medical conditions, American Society of Anesthesiology score, and incidence of previous surgery were similar in the two groups. Median operative time was longer (180 minutes versus 135 minutes, p < 0.001), but blood loss was less (100 mL versus 200 mL, p = 0.001) in the lapatoscopic group. Conversion to open surgery occurred in eight patients. One patient died in the laparoscopic group and five died in the open group. Laparoscopic resection was associated with earlier return of bowel function (3 days versus 4 days, p = 0.004), earlier resumption of solid diet (3 days versus 5 days, p < 0.001), shorter hospital stay (7 days versus 9 days, p = 0.001), and less cardiopulmonary morbidity (7.7% versus 22.4%, p = 0.033) when compared with open colorectal resection. CONCLUSIONS: Laparoscopic colorectal resection is a safe option for elderly patients and is associated with more favorable short-term outcomes in terms of earlier return of bowel function, earlier resumption of diet, and shorter hospital stay. It is also associated with less cardiopulmonary morbidity, which is an important complication after colorectal surgery in the elderly. © 2002 by the American College of Surgeons.
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