Background: The Clinical Outcomes of Surgical Therapy Group (COST) trial published in 2004 demonstrated that minimally invasive surgery (MIS) for colorectal cancer provided equivalent oncologic results and better short-term outcomes when compared to open surgery. Before this, MIS comprised approximately 3% of colorectal cancer cases. We hypothesized that there would be a dramatic increase in the use of MIS for colon cancer after this publication. Methods: The National Inpatient Sample database was used to retrospectively review MIS and open colon resections from 2005 through 2007. ICD-9-specific procedure codes were used to identify open and MIS colon cancer resections. Statistical analyses performed included Pearson χ2 tests and dependent t tests, and Cramer's V was used to measure the strength of association. Results: A total of 240,446 colon resections were performed between 2005 and 2007. The percentage of resections performed laparoscopically increased from 4.7% in 2005 to 6.7% in 2007 for colon cancer and remained relatively unchanged for benign disease (25.2% in 2005 vs. 27.4% in 2007, P < 0.007). Patients undergoing laparoscopic colectomy were younger, had lower comorbidity scores, had lower rates of complications (20.1 vs. 25.1%, P < 0.001), had shorter lengths of stay (7.2 vs. 9.6 days, P < 0.001), and had lower mortality (1.5 vs. 3.0%, P < 0.001). Furthermore, when evaluating adoption trends, urban teaching hospitals adopted laparoscopy more rapidly than rural nonteaching centers. Conclusions: Adoption of MIS for the treatment of colorectal cancer has been slow. Additional studies to evaluate barriers in the adoption of MIS for colon cancer resection are warranted.
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