Background: The aim of this study was to evaluate disability after laparoscopic colectomy in patients with benign colorectal disease.
Methods: Patients who underwent laparoscopic colectomy for benign colorectal diseases were matched with patients who underwent laparotomy for the same diseases by the same surgeons during the same time period. A standardized questionnaire used to assess disability included days until return to partial activity, full activity, and work.
Results: Seventy-one patients who underwent laparotomy were compared with 71 patients who underwent laparoscopy. Pathology included 26 patients with adenoma, 23 with Crohn's disease, 13 with diverticulitis, and 9 with reversal of Hartmann's procedure in each group. Procedures were partial colectomy with ileocolostomy, colocolostomy, or colorectostomy. There were no significant differences (p > 0.05) in age (55.8 vs. 59.7 years) or in the incidence of perioperative complications (25% vs. 29%) between the laparoscopy and laparotomy groups, respectively. The operative time was longer in the laparoscopic group than in the laparotomy group: 165 versus 122 min (p < 0.001). However, length of hospitalization, return to partial and full activity, and time off of work were significantly shorter in the laparoscopy than in the laparotomy group: 6.3 versus 9.0 days, 2.1 versus 4.4 weeks, 4.2 versus 10.5 weeks and 3.8 versus 7.5 weeks, respectively (p < 0.01 for all).
Conclusions: Laparoscopic colectomy for benign colorectal diseases was associated with significantly less disability than was laparotomy in terms of length of hospitalization as well as return to baseline partial and full activity and employment.