Objective: To evaluate the utilization of laparoscopic colectomy (LC) in the United States before and after prospective data supported its use for the treatment of colon cancer. Methods: The Nationwide Inpatient Sample 2001-2003 [before Clinical Outcomes of Surgical Therapy (COST)] and 2005-2007 (after COST) was queried for elective colectomies for both benign and malignant disease. The COST trial was published in 2004; therefore, 2004 data were excluded. Univariate analyses including patient-specific, hospital-specific, and outcome variables were performed. Multivariate logistic regression models and subset analyses were used to evaluate these variables and operative approach by time frame. Results: The query yielded 741,817 elective colectomies (684,969 open and 56,848 laparoscopic). The percentage of elective colectomies performed laparoscopically has increased over time. Laparoscopic colectomy for benign disease increased from 6.2% in 2001-2003 to 11.8% in 2005-2007, while those for colon cancer have increased by a larger percentage, 2.3% to 8.9%. In a multivariate model of patients with colon cancer, the odds ratio (OR) for having a laparoscopic approach after COST was 4.55 (confidence interval 3.81-5.44) compared with before COST. In contrast, for benign disease, the OR was 2.10 (confidence interval 1.79-2.46). Factors predictive of having a laparoscopic approach for cancer have changed very little over time: Patients are more likely to be male, insured, live in areas with the highest incomes, and undergo resection at urban teaching hospitals. Conclusions: Within 3 years after publication of the COST trial, the use of laparoscopic resection for colon cancer approached that of benign disease. However, almost 90% of cases are still performed open and utilization remains influenced by socioeconomic factors.
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