Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 348–356 | Cite as

A Comparison of Pathologic Outcomes of Open, Laparoscopic, and Robotic Resections for Rectal Cancer Using the ACS-NSQIP Proctectomy-Targeted Database: a Propensity Score Analysis

  • Richard Garfinkle
  • Maria Abou-Khalil
  • Sahir Bhatnagar
  • Nathalie Wong-Chong
  • Laurent Azoulay
  • Nancy Morin
  • Carol-Ann Vasilevsky
  • Marylise BoutrosEmail author
Original Article



There is ongoing debate regarding the benefits of minimally invasive techniques for rectal cancer surgery. The aim of this study was to compare pathologic outcomes of patients who underwent rectal cancer resection by open surgery, laparoscopy, and robotic surgery using the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) proctectomy-targeted database.


All patients from the 2016 ACS-NSQIP proctectomy-targeted database who underwent elective proctectomy for rectal cancer were identified. Patients were divided into three groups based on initial operative approach: open surgery, laparoscopy, and robotic surgery. Pathologic and 30-day clinical outcomes were then compared between the groups. A propensity score analysis was performed to control for confounders, and adjusted odds ratios for pathologic outcomes were reported.


A total of 578 patients were included—211 (36.5%) in the open group, 213 (36.9%) in the laparoscopic group, and 154 (26.6%) in the robotic group. Conversion to open surgery was more common among laparoscopic cases compared to robotic cases (15.0% vs. 6.5%, respectively; p = 0.011). Positive circumferential resection margin (CRM) was observed in 4.7%, 3.8%, and 5.2% (p = 0.79) of open, laparoscopic, and robotic resections, respectively. Propensity score adjusted odds ratios for positive CRM (open surgery as a reference group) were 0.70 (0.26–1.85, p = 0.47) for laparoscopy and 1.03 (0.39–2.70, p = 0.96) for robotic surgery.


The use of minimally invasive surgical techniques for rectal cancer surgery does not appear to confer worse pathologic outcomes.


Pathologic outcomes Rectal cancer Laparoscopy Robotic surgery Open surgery NSQIP Proctectomy Database Propensity score analysis 



Laurent Azoulay is the recipient of a Chercheur-Boursier award from the Fonds de Recherche du Quebec–Santé and a William Dawson Scholar award from McGill University.

Authors’ Contribution

RG, MAK, SB, NWC, LA, NM, CAV and MB have all met the following criteria for authorship:

-Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data for the work, and

-Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and

-Final approval of the version to be published, and

-Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery, Jewish General HospitalMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational HealthMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Gerald Bronfman Department of OncologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  4. 4.Centre for Clinical Epidemiology, Lady Davis InstituteJewish General HospitalMontrealCanada

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