Aim: Elective laparoscopic colectomy (LC) has been shown to provide short-term results comparable with open colectomy (OC), but there is potential selection bias whereby LC patients may be healthier and therefore more likely to have a superior outcome. The aim of this study was to compare the incidence of postoperative complications between matched laparoscopic and open colectomy cohorts, while controlling for differences in comorbidity. Method: A retrospective cohort study (2005-2010) using National Surgical Quality Improvement Program data was performed, identifying laparoscopic and open partial colectomy patients through common procedural terminology codes. Patient having rectal resection were excluded. The cohorts were matched 1:1 on a propensity score to control for observable selection bias due to patient characteristics, comparing overall complication rates, length of hospital stay (LOS), the incidence of superficial (S-SSI) surgical site infection, urinary tract infection (UTI) and deep-venous thrombosis (DVT). Results: We analysed 37 249 patients. After propensity score matching the LC group had a significantly lower overall incidence of postoperative complications (29.1 vs 21.2%; P < 0.0001), S-SSI (9.0 vs 5.9%; P = 0.003) and DVT (1.2 vs 0.3%; P = 0.001). The LC group had a shorter LOS (8.7 vs 6.4 days; P < 0.0001), while mortality was comparable between the two groups (4.0 vs 4.1%; P = 0.578). Conclusion: LC is associated with a lower incidence of S-SSI and DVT than OC. Previously suggested advantages for laparoscopy, such as shorter length of stay and overall rate of complications, were observed even after controlling for differences in comorbidity.
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