Although laparoscopic applications in colorectal surgery are still evolving, demonstrated benefits, including decreased postoperative pain, length of ileus, and hospital stay, encourage patient and physician enthusiam for this new approach. The cost of the procedure is comparable to that of open surgery, and cost benefits should be realized as conversion rates improve. The technique is feasible, and surgeons are cautioned to be aware of their limitations, as they are learning the procedure, in order to minimize complications and conversion rates. Questions remain, particularly regarding recurrence and survival outcomes with colorectal carcinoma. Patients undergoing laparoscopic colectomy for carcinoma should be enrolled in prospective randomized trials.
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