Ann Coloproctol.  2013 Feb;29(1):12-16. 10.3393/ac.2013.29.1.12.

Laparoscopic Versus an Open Colectomy in an Emergency Setting: A Case-Controlled Study

  • 1Division of Colorectal Surgery, University Surgical Cluster, National University Health System, Singapore.
  • 2Department of Surgery, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore.


Laparoscopy continues to be increasingly adopted for elective colorectal resections. However, its role in an emergency setting remains controversial. The aim of this study was to compare the outcomes between laparoscopic and open colectomies performed for emergency colorectal conditions.
A retrospective review of all patients who underwent emergency laparoscopic colectomies for various surgical conditions was performed. These patients were matched for age, gender, surgical diagnosis and type of surgery with patients who underwent emergency open colectomies.
Twenty-three emergency laparoscopic colectomies were performed from April 2006 to October 2011 for patients with lower gastrointestinal tract bleeding (6), colonic obstruction (4) and colonic perforation (13). The hand-assisted laparoscopic technique was utilized in 15 cases (65.2%). There were 4 (17.4%) conversions to the open technique. The operative time was longer in the laparoscopic group (175 minutes vs. 145 minutes, P = 0.04), and the duration of hospitalization was shorter in the laparoscopic group (6 days vs. 7 days, P = 0.15). The overall postoperative morbidity rates were similar between the two groups (P = 0.93), with only 3 patients in each group requiring postoperative surgical intensive-care-unit stays or reoperations. There were no mortalities. The cost analysis did not demonstrate any significant differences in the procedural (P = 0.57) and the nonprocedural costs (P = 0.48) between the two groups.
Emergency laparoscopic colectomy in a carefully-selected patient group is safe. Although the operative times were longer, the postoperative outcomes were comparable to those of the open technique. The laparoscopic group did not incur a higher cost.


Laparoscopy; Colectomy; Emergencies; Case-control studies
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