Minimally Invasive Surgery for Gastric Cancer Effective

Shorter hospital stays, less pain, fewer complications compared with open surgery

MONDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with gastric cancer who undergo laparoscopic surgery have shorter hospital stays, less pain, and fewer complications than patients undergoing open surgery, with similar survival, according to a study published online April 4 in Annals of Surgical Oncology.

Vivian E. Strong, M.D., and colleagues from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, examined the feasibility and outcomes of totally laparoscopic compared with open subtotal gastrectomy for gastric adenocarcinoma in 30 patients undergoing laparoscopy and 30 matched patients undergoing open surgery.

The researchers found that patients undergoing laparoscopy had significantly shorter median hospital length of stay (five versus seven days), significantly less pain (intravenous narcotic use for a median of three versus four days), fewer postoperative early complications, and significantly fewer late complications. Both groups had similar short-term recurrence-free survival and margin status, along with adequate lymph node retrieval. However, the median operating time was significantly longer for laparoscopy (270 versus 126 minutes).

"Laparoscopic subtotal gastrectomy for adenocarcinoma is comparable to the open approach with regard to oncologic principles of resection, with equivalent margin status and adequate lymph node retrieval, demonstrating technical feasibility and equivalent short-term recurrence-free survival," Strong and colleagues conclude. "Additional benefits of decreased postoperative complications, decreased length of hospital stay, and decreased narcotic use make this a preferable approach for selected patients."

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