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Who is suitable for colon cancer keyhole surgery, and how safe and effective is it?

Colorectal Surgery Cancer General Surgery

I've read that colon cancer surgery can be done by keyhole as well. I would like to find out more about when colon cancer surgery can be performed through keyhole, and how safe and effective it is versus "conventional" surgery?

DOCTOR’S ANSWER (1)

Laparoscopic surgery, also known as keyhole surgery, has revolutionized abdominal surgery in many aspects. Colon cancer surgery has benefited tremendously from this technology and surgical advancement. 

In laparoscopic surgery, the wounds are smaller and with less injury to the muscle wall, the pain levels are well documented to be less. With less pain, patients undergoing surgery can breathe better and are able to move and walk faster. Therefore serious complications like lung infections and blood clots in the legs and lungs are much less. And due to this, patients get back home and back to functioning back in society faster.

These are well documented in numerous research studies done all over the world, including research studies done in Singapore.

Most patients with colon cancer do qualify for laparoscopic surgery. There may be some patients who may not be able to tolerate laparoscopic surgery like those with severe disease of the lungs or heart. 

The safety profile in terms of complications of surgery, comparing laparoscopic surgery against conventional large incision ‘open’ surgery have been extensively studied as well and they are similar. In centers that are ‘experts’ in laparoscopic surgery, it may even be safer to perform the laparoscopic colon cancer surgery.

There is a little more debate on the effectiveness of open versus laparoscopic surgery. This is measured by whether the cancer recurs at the site of surgery and again there is not much difference between the procedures and the studies and discussions are still ongoing.

113 views 22 Feb 2019
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