National trends in the uptake of laparoscopic resection for colorectal cancer, 2000–2008

Bridie S Thompson, Michael D Coory and John W Lumley
Med J Aust 2011; 194 (9): 443-447.


Objective: To examine the trends in the uptake of laparoscopic resection for colorectal cancer.

Design and setting: Retrospective analysis of Australia-wide data on elective resections for colorectal cancer over the 8 financial years 2000–01 to 2007–08, obtained from the National Hospital Morbidity Database.

Main outcome measures: National trends in annual percentage of colorectal resections for cancer that were conducted laparoscopically for each year, stratified by hospitals conducting a high volume of elective resections (40 or more/year) versus a low volume, and by public versus private hospitals.

Results: For all Australian hospitals combined, the percentage of resections for colon cancer conducted laparoscopically increased from 2.4% in 2000–01 to 27.5% in 2007–08. For rectal cancer, this increase was from 1.1% to 21.5%. The largest increases were seen in high-volume private hospitals (colon cancer, 2.7% to 34.1%; rectal cancer, 1.5% to 26.2%), but increases also occurred in high-volume public hospitals (colon cancer, 2.7% to 32.2%; rectal cancer, 0.5% to 20.3%), low-volume private (colon cancer, 3.8% to 27.1%; rectal cancer, 2.4% to 25.5%) and low-volume public (colon cancer, 1.1% to 17.0%; rectal cancer, 0.5% to 13.8%) hospitals.

Conclusions: The use of laparoscopic resection for colorectal cancer has increased throughout Australian hospitals. Our findings provide the data necessary to ensure adequate resource allocation by the appropriate medical bodies to achieve optimal success in the uptake of laparoscopic resection for colorectal cancer in Australia.

  • Bridie S Thompson1,0
  • Michael D Coory3
  • John W Lumley4

  • 1 School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 2 Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Service, Queensland Health, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 3 Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 4 The Wesley Hospital, Brisbane, QLD.


We acknowledge the assistance of Corrie Martin, Principal Data Quality Officer of Queensland Health, and Julie Turtle, Clinical Coding Auditor/Educator of the Tasmanian Department Health and Human Services, for assisting with determining the International Statistical Classification of Diseases procedure codes relevant to segmental resections of the colon and rectum, and for clarifying coding practice for laparoscopic resections.

Competing interests:

None identified.

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