Background: Over the past 5 years, several studies have demonstrated that laparoscopic colon resection is an acceptable and perhaps preferable alternative to open resection for both benign diseases and cancer. The extent to which laparoscopic colon resections are used nationally is not known.
Methods: The Nationwide Inpatient Sample was used to identify laparoscopic and open elective colon resections performed in the United States each year from 2000 through 2004. The trends in adoption of the laparoscopic technique for each type of colon resection and for the most common diagnoses were identified, and differences in patient and provider characteristics were examined.
Results: From 2000 to 2004, the proportion of colon resections performed laparoscopically increased from 3% to 6.5%. The proportion performed for cancer increased from 1.4% to 4.3%, and for benign disease from 4.6% to 8.2%. Patients treated laparoscopically tended to be younger (median age, 61 years vs 66 years; p < 0.001) and to have fewer comorbidities (Charlson score of zero for 58.1% vs 37%; p < 0.001). Laparoscopic colon resections were more widely adopted in teaching versus nonteaching hospitals (5.1% vs 3.7%; p < 0.001) and in urban versus rural hospitals (4.7% vs 2.2%; p < 0.001).
Conclusion: Although the proportion of colon resections performed laparoscopically increased in the first half of this decade, it has remained very low. This trend is similar across procedure types and diagnoses. It remains to be seen whether greater patient demand and more recent trials will result in wider adoption of the laparoscopic approach.