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Abstract

Background:

Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) have shown multiport laparoscopic surgery to be safe compared with open surgery in elective colonic disease. Single-incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS) represents the latest advance in laparoscopic surgery. The aim of this systematic review was to establish the safety and complication profile of colonic SILS.

Methods:

The search was performed in October 2011 using PubMed, MEDLINE, Embase and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. Search terms were ‘colorectal’, ‘colon’, ‘colectomy’, ‘rectal’ and single incision/port/trocar/site/scar. Only pure single-incision laparoscopic colonic surgery for benign and malignant colonic disease was included. Primary outcomes were the early postoperative complication profiles of colonic SILS. Secondary outcomes were duration of operation, lymph node yields, conversion rate and duration of hospital stay.

Results:

Colonic SILS data were compared with data from a Cochrane review on the short-term outcomes of laparoscopic colonic surgery and four main RCTs on laparoscopic colonic surgery. Median operating times and time to first bowel motion for colonic SILS were comparable with those for laparoscopic colonic surgery. The median lymph node retrieval for malignant disease achieved with SILS was acceptable. Evidence for a reduction in postoperative pain with SILS was conflicting. There was no significant reduction in length of hospital stay with SILS. Most patients selected for colonic SILS had a low body mass index, non-bulky tumours and were operated on by experienced laparoscopic surgeons. There was significant heterogeneity in study group characteristics, indications for surgery, research methodology, operative techniques and follow-up time.

Conclusion:

Colonic SILS should be restricted to highly selected patients; operations should be performed by experienced laparoscopic surgeons, with critical appraisal of clinical outcomes. Copyright © 2012 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.