Is the number of lymph nodes retrieved in laparoscopic colorectal cancer resections related to the learning curve of the surgeon?

O. Aly, E MacDonald, C Watkins, G. I. Murray, E H Aly


Objectives: To find out if the number of lymph nodes retrieved in laparoscopic colorectal cancer surgery is affected by thesurgeon’s learning curve. Laparoscopic colorectal resections for malignant tumors by experienced laparoscopic surgeonsachieve similar oncologic outcomes as open surgery. However, there is currently no data on lymph node retrieval in theearly phase of the learning curve of colorectal laparoscopic surgery compared to open surgery.Methods: Retrospective study of the first 25 colorectal laparoscopic resections (LR) for cancer performed by a singlesurgeon were compared with his most recent 25 open resections (OR). The same group of pathologists examined &reported all the resections. The total number of lymph nodes identified within the specimen was compared.Results: For all resections the median lymph node count was equal for both open and laparoscopic groups. There was nosignificant difference in lymph node retrieval between the two groups for all resections.Conclusion: The number of lymph nodes retrieved for colorectal cancer does not seem to be affected by the early part ofthe learning curve of laparoscopic colorectal surgery. Further studies looking at the results of multiple surgeons are neededto confirm this observation.

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Journal of Solid Tumors

ISSN 1925-4067(Print)   ISSN 1925-4075(Online)

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