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Mark Bloomston, Henry Kaufman, John Winston, Mark Arnold and Edward Martin

The benefits of laparoscopy in benign diseases are quite clear. Patients generally can expect smaller incisions, less narcotic usage, quicker return of bowel function, and shorter hospitalizations. The benefits of laparoscopy in oncologic surgery are less clear, and laparoscopic oncology surgery has many critics. Early reports of long surgical times, high operating room costs, and alarming rates of port-site recurrences after laparoscopic colectomy for colorectal cancer all but stopped this less-invasive approach outside the confines of clinical protocols. As the results of larger retrospective studies began to refute these earlier detrimental claims, prospective randomized trials began to take a foothold. In this article, we review these randomized trials with particular attention to the perioperative effects of laparoscopic colectomy and the short-term oncologic outcomes.