BACKGROUND: Laparoscopic right hemicolectomy for colon cancer is associated with substantial morbidity despite the introduction of enhanced recovery protocols and laparoscopic surgery. Laparoscopic right hemicolectomy with an intracorporeal anastomosis (IA) is less invasive than laparoscopic assisted hemicolectomy, possibly leading to further decrease in post-operative morbidity and faster recovery. The current standard technique includes an extracorporeal anastomosis with mobilization of the colon, mesenteric traction and a extraction wound located in the mid/upper abdomen with relative more post-operative morbidity compared to extraction wounds located in the lower abdomen.
METHODS: A systematic review of PubMed and Embase databases was performed on studies comparing the intracorporeal versus the extracorporeal performed anastomosis in laparoscopic right hemicolectomy. Primary outcomes were mortality, short-term morbidity and length of stay. For quality assessment, the MINORS checklist was used. Meta-analysis was performed using a random-effects model, and a subgroup analysis was performed for data regarding short-term morbidity and length of stay in studies published in 2012>/=.
RESULTS: A total of 2692 papers were identified, 12 non-randomized comparative studies were included in the analysis with a total number of 1492 patients. No significant change in mortality was found (OR 0.36, 95 % CI 0.09-1.46; I 2 = 0 %). Short-term morbidity decreased significantly in favour of IA (OR 0.68, 95 % CI 0.49-0.93; I 2 = 20 %). Length of stay was decreased, but with serious risk of heterogeneity (MD -0.77 days, 95 % CI -1.46 to -0.07; I 2 = 81 %). Subgroup analysis for papers published in 2012>/= resulted in an even larger decrease in short-term morbidity (OR 0.65, 95 % CI 0.50-0.85; I 2 = 0 %) and a significant decrease in length of stay with low risk of heterogeneity (MD -0.77 days, 95 % CI -1.17 to -0.37; I 2 = 4 %).
CONCLUSION: Intracorporeal anastomosis in laparoscopic right hemicolectomy is associated with reduced short-term morbidity and decreased length of hospital stay suggesting faster recovery as shown in this meta-analysis.