Examining the transferability of colon and rectal operative experience on outcomes following laparoscopic rectal surgery
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BACKGROUND: Laparoscopic rectal surgery is technically challenging and often low volume. Alternatively, colon resections utilize similar advanced laparoscopic skills and are more common but it is unknown whether this experience affects laparoscopic rectal surgery outcomes. The purpose of this paper is to determine the volume-outcome relationship between several colorectal procedures and laparoscopic rectal surgery outcomes. METHODS: This was a population-based retrospective cohort of all colorectal surgeries with primary anastomoses performed across Canada (excluding Quebec) between April 2008 and March 2015. Patient characteristics, comorbidities, procedures, and discharge details were collected from the Canadian Institute for Health Information. Volumes for common colorectal procedures were calculated for individual surgeons. All-cause morbidity, defined as complications arising during the index admission and contributing to an increased length of stay by more than 24 h, was the primary outcome examined. RESULTS: A total of 5323 laparoscopic rectal surgery cases and 108,034 colorectal cases, between 180 hospitals and 620 surgeons, were identified. Data analysis demonstrated that high-volume laparoscopic rectal surgeons (OR 0.77, CI 0.61-0.96, p = 0.020) and high-volume open rectal surgeons (OR 0.76, CI 0.61-0.93, p = 0.009) significantly reduced all-cause morbidity. Conversely, surgeon volumes for laparoscopic and open colon cases had no effect on laparoscopic rectal outcomes. CONCLUSION: High-volume surgeon status in laparoscopic and open rectal surgery are important predictors of all-cause morbidity after laparoscopic rectal surgery, while laparoscopic colon surgery volumes did not impact outcomes. This may reflect more dissimilarity between colon and rectal cases and less transferability of advanced laparoscopic skills than previously thought.
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