In the US, nearly 300,000 colectomies are performed annually, and with the aging baby boomers (and larger Medicare population), the number is expected to increase in coming years.15
A traditional "open" colectomy requires a large incision down the abdomen, up to 12 inches long. Patients usually require more than one week in the hospital and another six to eight weeks recovery period.
On the other hand, in a minimally invasive laparoscopic colectomy, a surgeon makes a series of smaller abdominal incisions ranging from ¼ inch to 4 inches. A laparoscope (miniature camera) is placed in one incision, which provides the surgeon with a magnified view of the internal organs on a video monitor. Specialized surgical instruments are placed in the other incisions, through which the surgeon accesses and removes the appropriate portions of the colon and restores function. Patients typically require less than a week hospital stay and the recovery period may be decreased by 4-6 weeks.20
In 2005, 15% to 20% of colectomy procedures used a minimally invasive approach, and by 2014 it's projected that 65% of colectomies will be performed laparoscopically.15
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