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Surgical starting time in the morning versus the afternoon: propensity score matched analysis of operative outcomes following laparoscopic colectomy for colorectal cancer

Surgical Endoscopy
Y. Ishiyama, F. Ishida, S. Ooae, Y. Takano, J. Seki, S. Shimada, K. Nakahara, C. Maeda, Y. Enami, N. Sawada, E. Hidaka, S. Kudo



The number of colorectal cancer cases is increasing, and so the number of laparoscopic colectomy procedures being performed is also increasing, leading to an increased workload for surgeons. However, operating for prolonged time periods may cause surgeons to lose their concentration and develop fatigue. We hypothesized that there is a time-of-day variation in outcome for patients with colorectal cancer who undergo laparoscopic colectomy. The present study aimed to compare the operative outcome between laparoscopic colectomy for colorectal cancer performed in the morning versus the afternoon.


This was a single-center, retrospective study. All 1961 consecutive patients who underwent laparoscopic surgery for colorectal cancer between 2007 and 2017 were included; 1006 of these patients underwent morning surgery, while 955 underwent afternoon surgery. These patients were analyzed using propensity score matching, giving 791 patients in each group. The short- and long-term outcomes in both groups were compared.


Before propensity score matching, the morning group had a larger mean tumor size than the afternoon group (30 cm vs 35 cm; P = 0.0035). After matching, the two groups did not significantly differ in any patient characteristics. Compared with the afternoon group, the morning group had a significantly lesser incidence of intra-operative organ injury (0.25% vs 1.13%; P = 0.027), and a significantly greater incidence of post-operative abdominal abscess (2.03% vs 0.75% P = 0.028). The incidences of other complications and morbidities were similar in both groups. The median operative time in the morning group (201 min) was significantly longer than that in the afternoon group (193 min; P = 0.0124). The two groups did not differ in 5-year overall survival rates and 5-year disease-free rates within any disease stage.


Surgical start times are correlated with surgical outcomes. Our data will help to ensure the safest possible surgeries.

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