Background: Despite some encouraging preliminary results, the role of laparosropic surgery in the treatment of Crohn's disease (CD) is a subject of controversy and still under evaluation. The aim of this case-matched study was to compare the postoperative course of laparoscopic and open ileocecal resection in patients with CD in order to define the potential role of laparoscopic surgery in CD.
Methods: From 1998 to 2001, 24 consecutive patients with isolated Crohn's terminal ileitis treated by laparoscopic ileocecal resection (laparoscopy group) were compared with 32 patients matched for age, gender, duration of disease, preoperative steroid treatment, fistulizing disease, and associated surgical procedure, and treated by open resection (open group).
Results: In the laparoscopy group, four procedures (17%) were converted. There were no deaths. The morbidity rate was 20% in the laparoscopy group and 10% in the open group (NS). There was no significant difference between the two groups in operating time, size of bowel resection and resection margin, postoperative morphine requirement, resumption of intestinal function, tolerance of solid diet, or length of hospital stay.
Conclusions: Laparoscopic ileocecal resection in CD is safe and effective, even for fistulizing disease. There are no significant differences between laparoscopic and open ileocecal resection, especially in terms of the mortality and mortality rates. Consequently, because laparoscopic surgery seems to offer cosmetic advantages, it should be considered the procedure of choice for patients with ileocecal CD.