Since its inception, the use of laparoscopy for colon surgery has slowly increased, albeit at a slower rate than for cholecystectomy. Initial concerns about the safety and efficacy of laparoscopy have been addressed, and it is now known to have several potential short-term and long-term benefits for the patient. Early studies likely underestimated use of laparoscopy because of coding error. Currently, 40% to 50% of colectomies in the United States are performed laparoscopically, with a 10% to 20% rate of conversion to an open operation. The definitions oflaparoscopy and conversion to open remain at the discretion of the surgeons and their coders. Disparities still exist among use based on several patient, hospital, and surgeon factors. In the future, we will likely see a continuing increase in use as the new generation of surgeons enters practice, and there will be an increasing role for laparoscopy in rectal surgery. The benefit and extent of robotic surgery, natural orifice surgery, and single-incision surgery for minimally invasive colectomies are yet to be defined.
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