Comparison of return of bowel function and length of stay in patients undergoing laparoscopic versus open colectomy

JSLS. 2007 Jan-Mar;11(1):72-5.


Background: Over the last decade, many advances have been made in laparoscopic techniques in various surgical specialties. The technique of laparoscopic-assisted colectomy (LAC) has been reported since 1992 and has been slowly gaining popularity in the surgical community. Several studies have compared laparoscopic versus open colectomy, assessing its applicability to patients with colon cancer, Crohn's disease, and diverticular disease. Studies to date have assessed length of stay, operative time, and clinical outcome. This study focuses on return of bowel function and length of hospital stay in patients undergoing LAC compared with those undergoing open colectomy.

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of patients undergoing either open colon resection or LAC between January 2000 and December 2005. All disease processes and both emergent and elective cases were included. Return of bowel function was determined by passage of flatus or first passage of stool and compared between the 2 groups. The data were statistically analyzed using the Student t test for interval data, and nominal data were analyzed using the chi-square analysis (95% confidence interval; CI).

Results: The study included 247 patients; 179 (72.5%) underwent open colectomy and 68 (27.5%) underwent LAC. Passage of flatus took 3.6 days (95% CI .18 or 3.4 to 3.8) for open colectomy, and 2.9 days (95% CI .19 or 2.7 to 3.1) for LAC. First bowel movement took 4.4 days (95% CI .19 or 4.2 to 4.6) for open colectomy and 3.7 days (95% CI .22 or 3.5 to 3.9) for LAC. When compared between the groups, mean length of hospital stay was 8.01 days (95% CI .93 or 7.1 to 8.9) for open colectomy and 4.38 days (95% CI .38 or 4.0 to 4.8) for LAC.

Conclusion: Both return of bowel function and length of stay were statistically significantly shorter in LAC compared with those in open colectomy, which may indicate faster recovery after bowel surgery in patients undergoing the laparoscopic approach.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Colectomy / methods*
  • Defecation*
  • Female
  • Flatulence*
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy*
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged