Who should operate patients presenting with emergent colon cancer? A comparison of short- and long-term outcome depending on surgical sub-specialization

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Background: Colorectal cancer presents as emergencies in 20% of the cases. Emergency resection is associated with high postoperative morbidity and mortality. The specialization of the operating team in the emergency settings differs from the elective setting, which may have an impact on outcome. The aim of this study was to evaluate short- and long-term outcomes following emergent colon cancer surgery depending on sub-specialization of the operating team. Methods: This is a retrospective population study based on data from the Swedish Colorectal Cancer Registry (SCRCR). In total, 656 patients undergoing emergent surgery for colon cancer between 2011 and 2016 were included. The cohort was divided in groups according to specialization of the operating team: (1) colorectal team (CRT); (2) emergency surgical team (EST); (3) general surgical team (GST). The impact of specialization on short- and long-term outcomes was analyzed. Results: No statistically significant difference in 5-year overall survival (CRT 48.3%; EST 45.7%; GST 42.5%; p = 0.60) or 3-year recurrence-free survival (CRT 80.7%; EST 84.1%; GST 77.7%21.1%; p = 0.44) was noted between the groups. Neither was any significant difference in 30-day mortality (4.4%; 8.1%; 5.5%, p = 0.20), 90-day mortality (8.8; 11.9; 7.9%, p = 0.37) or postoperative complication rate (35.5%, 35.9 30.7, p = 0.52) noted between the groups. Multivariate analysis adjusted for case-mix showed no difference in hazard ratios for long-term survival or postoperative complications. The rate of permanent stoma after 3 years was higher in the EST group compared to the CRT and GST groups (34.5% vs. 24.3% and 23.9%, respectively; p < 0.0.5). Conclusion: Surgical sub-specialization did not significantly affect postoperative complication rate, nor short- or long-term survival after emergent operation for colon cancer. Patients operated by emergency surgical teams were more likely to have a permanent stoma after 3 years.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
JournalWorld Journal of Emergency Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Dec

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Surgery

Free keywords

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Emergency surgery
  • Large bowel obstruction
  • Sub-specialization


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