Effect of surgeon "experience" with laparoscopy on postoperative outcomes after colorectal surgery

Surgery. 2017 Oct;162(4):880-890. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2017.06.018. Epub 2017 Aug 10.


Background: Although the relationship between laparoscopic surgery and improved clinical outcomes has been well established across a variety of procedures, the effect of operative experience with laparoscopic surgery remains less defined. The present study sought to assess the comparative benefit of laparoscopic colorectal surgery relative to surgeon volume.

Methods: Commercially insured patients aged 18 to 64 years undergoing a colorectal resection were identified using the MarketScan Database from 2010-2014. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to calculate and compare postoperative mortality/morbidity by operative approach relative to surgeon volume.

Results: A total of 21,827 patients were identified who met inclusion criteria. The median age among patients was 53 years (interquartile range: 46-59) with a slight majority of patients being female (n = 11,248, 51.5%). Laparoscopic operations were performed in 49.2% of patients (n = 10,756), whereas 50.7% (n = 11,071) underwent an open colorectal resection. On multivariable analysis, laparoscopic surgery was associated with 64% decreased odds of developing a postoperative complication or mortality (odds ratio = 0.36, 95% confidence interval, 0.32-0.41, P < .001). Patients who underwent colectomy performed by a higher operative volume surgeon (high versus low: odds ratio = 0.68, 95% confidence interval, 0.61-0.77, P < .001) demonstrated decreased odds of developing a postoperative complication/mortality. Interestingly the potential decrease in risk-adjusted morbidity/mortality between laparoscopic and open surgery was somewhat greater among high-operative-volume surgeons (odds ratio = 0.29, 95% confidence interval, 0.25-0.34, P < .001) and intermediate-operative-volume surgeons (odds ratio = 0.30, 95% confidence interval, 0.25-0.36, P < .001) compared with low-operative-volume surgeons (odds ratio = 0.36, 95% confidence interval, 0.32-0.41, P < .001).

Conclusion: Although laparoscopic surgery was associated with improved postoperative clinical outcomes, the effect of laparoscopic surgery varied somewhat according to surgeon volume.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Colectomy
  • Colonic Diseases / mortality
  • Colonic Diseases / pathology
  • Colonic Diseases / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Rectal Diseases / mortality
  • Rectal Diseases / pathology
  • Rectal Diseases / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult