Techniques in Coloproctology

, Volume 23, Issue 10, pp 965–972 | Cite as

A National study on the adoption of laparoscopic colorectal surgery in the elderly population: current state and value proposition

  • D. S. KellerEmail author
  • J. Qiu
  • R. P. Kiran
Original Article



The economic and clinical benefits of laparoscopic colorectal surgery are proven, yet may be underutilized in appropriate cases, especially in the elderly. Since the elderly constitute the greatest colorectal surgical volume, our goal was to identify trends in utilization and impact of laparoscopy in this cohort.


A national review of elective inpatient colorectal resections from the Premier Inpatient Database between 2010 and 2015 was performed. Patients were included if elderly (≥ 65 years), then grouped into open or laparoscopic procedures. The main outcome measures were trends in utilization by approach and total costs for the episode of care, length of stay (LOS), readmission, and complications by approach in the elderly. Multivariable regression models controlled for differences across platforms, adjusting for patient demographic, comorbidities and hospital characteristics.


In 70,655 elderly patients evaluated, laparoscopic adoption remained lower than open throughout the study period. Rates increased until 2013, then declined, with increasing rates of open surgery. Laparoscopy was associated with significantly lower mean total costs ($4012 less/case), complications and readmissions (36% and 33% less, respectively), and shorter LOS (2.6 less days) than open cases (all p < 0.0001). When complications occurred, they were less severe and the readmission episodes were less costly with laparoscopy than open colorectal surgery.


The adoption of laparoscopy in the elderly has lagged behind open surgery and even declined in recent years despite being associated with improved clinical outcomes and reduced cost. With this tremendous value proposition to increase use of laparoscopic surgery in the elderly, further work needs to evaluate root causes of the disparity.


Minimally invasive surgery Laparoscopic colorectal surgery Elderly Frailty Healthcare outcomes Healthcare costs 



The authors received no financial support or funding for this work.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Ms. Qiu is employed by Medtronic, but there was no payment for the work. Dr. Keller: no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose. Dr. Kiran: no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

For this type of study formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery, Department of Surgery, NewYork-PresbyterianColumbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Minimally Invasive Therapies Group, Medtronic, Inc.BoulderUSA
  3. 3.Division of Colorectal Surgery, Department of SurgeryColumbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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