Alimentation in the surgically treated head and neck cancer patient frequently requires bypassing the upper aerodigestive tract. The laparoscopic gastrostomy fulfills this criterion. The authors compared 25 laparoscopic gastrostomies (group 1) with 18 open gastrostomies (group 2) performed on head and neck cancer patients. The length of operation, morbidity, mortality, and cost were evaluated. Operative time was significantly shorter in group 1 (40 ± 2 minutes) than in group 2 (56 ± 4 minutes), with P=.003. The major complication rate was 9% for group 1 and 11% for group 2. There was no procedure-related mortality in group 1, but 1 patient died in the immediate postoperative period in group 2. The cost was not significantly different. It is concluded that the laparoscopic gastrostomy is a safe and cost-effective alternative to open gastrostomy in this patient group.
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