Laparoscopic resection for rectal cancer: what is the evidence?
Chan DK-H., Chong C-S., Lieske B., Tan K-K.
Laparoscopic colectomy for colon cancer is a well-established procedure supported by several well-conducted large-scale randomised controlled trials. Patients could now be conferred the benefits of the minimally invasive approach while retaining comparable oncologic outcomes to the open approach. However, the benefits of laparoscopic proctectomy for rectal cancer remained controversial. While the laparoscopic approach is more technically demanding, results from randomised controlled trials regarding long term oncologic outcomes are only beginning to be reported. The impacts of bladder and sexual functions following proctectomy are considerable and are important contributing factors to the patients' quality of life in the long-term. These issues present a delicate dilemma to the surgeon in his choice of operative approach in tackling rectal cancer. This is compounded further by the rapid proliferation of various laparoscopic techniques including the hand assisted, robotic assisted, and single port laparoscopy. This review article aims to draw on the significant studies which have been conducted to highlight the short- and long-term outcomes and evidence for laparoscopic resection for rectal cancer.