PURPOSE: This study was designed to examine the shortterm results of laparoscopy in the treatment of curative cases of rectosigmoidal and rectal carcinoma. METHODS: A review was performed of a prospective registry of 70 patients who underwent curative laparoscopic resection for rectosigmoidal and rectal carcinoma between July 1993 and April 2001. Before 1997, only patients with early (Tis or TI) cancers located in the rectosigmoid and upper rectum that required bowel resection were candidates for laparoscopy. In 1997, we expanded the application of laparoscopy to include T2 cancers located anywhere in the rectum. Mesorectal transection was performed at least 5 cm below the tumor for rectosigmoidal and upper rectal lesions, and total mesorectal excision was performed for lower tumors. Primary anastomosis was performed by a double-stapling technique, or a per anum handsewn coloanal anastomosis was performed. Patient demographics and outcomes were recorded prospectively. RESULTS: The median follow-up was 23 months. An anastomosis was performed in 92.9 percent of the operations. Oral intake was started on median postoperative Day 1, and the median length of hospitalization was 8 days. Two patients needed conversion to conventional open surgery. A total of 15 postoperative complications occurred in 13 patients (18.6 percent), including anastomotic leakage in 6 (8.6 percent) and bowel obstruction in 3 (4.3 percent). Reoperation was required in six patients. Two patients developed recurrence of cancer at the anastomotic site. The expected 5-year survival and disease-free survival rates were 100 and 92.1 percent, respectively. CONCLUSION: The findings of the present study demonstrate the feasibility and safety of laparoscopic surgery for selected patients with rectal carcinoma. Morbidity and mortality rates and oncologic outcome appear to be comparable with conventional surgery.
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