A laparoscopic approach to colon cancer was initially explored in the early 1990’s, but then abandoned due to questions regarding the efficacy for achieving appropriate resection. A recent study from the NEJM, did a controlled trial which concluded similar rates of cancer recurrance between open and laparoscopic resection.
Here is an excerpt from the accompanying editorial:
Approximately 250,000 colonic resections are performed each year in the United States. Currently, the average general-surgery resident finishing a training program in the United States has performed fewer than one laparoscopic colon operation during training. Either our educational programs and teaching methods must be modified to take on the challenges to come, or an increased number of laparoscopic experts must be trained to perform colectomies. We suspect that both will happen. Although the frequency of open colon resection is unlikely to diminish to the degree that open cholecystectomy has, the number of laparoscopic colon resections will increase dramatically over the next decade. Many proponents suggest that 70 percent of small- and large-bowel operations can be performed with the use of minimally invasive techniques. The world of colorectal surgery will have to adapt.