Description of Studies

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Literature search

 • Systematic review of the literature from 1966–March 2009 using MEDLINE and EmBASE, following the protocol of the Cochrane Collaboration

 • Inclusion of randomised studies assessing analgesic interventions in colonic resection and reporting pain on a linear analogue scale (Colonic Resection Search terms March 2009)

 • Identification of studies of peri-operative interventions for postoperative pain following colonic resection

80 studies included (Click here for further information)

73 studies excluded (Click here for further information)

• The most common reasons for exclusion were the lack of VAS postoperative pain scores (32 studies), and the lack of a defined subgroup of patients undergoing colonic resection (16 studies)

This website provides recommendations for open and laparoscopic colonic resection. Results from the open and laparoscopic colonic resection studies are dealt with separately, because of the different pain profiles associated with these approaches.

• A majority of the studies assessed the effect of analgesic interventions in open colonic resection with the exception of:

• In five of seven studies, laparoscopic colonic resection was superior to open colonic resection for reducing postoperative pain scores: at rest, during coughing and mobilisation at 6 h (all p<0.05; n=29) (Stage 1997; LoE 2); at rest at 48 h (p<0.01) and during coughing 24–72 h, (p<0.01; n=44) (Danelli 2002; LoE 2); at rest and on coughing within the first week (p<0.02; n=60) (Schwenk 1998; LoE 2) and on Day 1 in two studies (p=0.003; n=403; p<0.05, n=39) (Leung 2004; LoE 1, Liang 2002; LoE 2). One study reported that open colonic resection was superior to laparoscopic colonic resection for the reduction of VAS pain scores at rest and activity at day 1 (p<0.05; n=60), but not from days 2–30 (Basse 2005; LoE 1). Another study showed no significant difference between laparoscopic-assisted colectomy and open colectomy for pain distress scores from baseline to 2 days, 2 weeks and 2 months postoperatively (Weeks 2002; LoE 1)

• In two of three studies, hand-assisted laparoscopic colonic surgery was superior to open colonic surgery for reduction of postoperative pain scores: during the first postoperative week (p<0.001; n=81) (Chung 2007; LoE 1), and on Day 1 (p=0.03), Day 3 and Day 14 (p<0.001; n=60) (Kang 2004; LoE 2); the third study reported no significant difference in postoperative VAS pain scores at rest and during movement on Days 1, 2, 3 and 7, and at Week 4 (n=55) (Maartense 2004; LoE 1)

• In addition, a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials (comprising of 2512 procedures from 12 trials) comparing the short-term outcomes of laparoscopic with those of open resection for colorectal cancer demonstrated that laparoscopic colonic resection is associated with lower morbidity, reduced pain and/or analgesic consumption, a faster recovery and a shorter hospital stay than open resection, without compromising oncological clearance (Abraham 2004; LoE 1)

Study quality assessments, levels of evidence and grades of recommendation

Recommendations are graded according to the overall level of evidence (LoE) on which the recommendations are based, which is determined by the quality and source of evidence: Levels of evidence and grades of recommendations in PROSPECT reviews (from 2006).

Click here for quality scores and levels of evidence for included procedure-specific studies: Colonic Resection September 2009 Quality Scoring + Levels of Evidence. 

Transferable evidence

Transferable evidence of analgesic efficacy from comparable procedures, or evidence of other outcomes such as adverse effects, has been included to support the procedure-specific evidence where this is insufficient to formulate the recommendations.

Most of the transferable evidence for colonic resection was supplemented from major abdominal surgery and gynaecological procedures.

Quantitative analyses

Overall, few meta-analyses could be performed that used data from more than two studies. This is because there are a limited number of studies of homogeneous design that report similar outcome measures. Therefore, the majority of the procedure-specific evidence was assessed only qualitatively.