Laparoscopic surgery (including laparoscopically assisted surgery) is recommended as an alternative to open surgery for people with colorectal cancer if:

  • both laparoscopic and open surgery are suitable for the person and their condition
  • their surgeon has been trained in laparoscopic surgery for colorectal cancer and performs the operation often enough to keep his or her skills up to date.

The decision about whether to use open or laparoscopic surgery should be made after informed discussion between the patient and the surgeon. In particular, they should talk about whether the patient's condition is suitable for laparoscopic surgery, the risks and benefits of the two procedures, and the surgeon's experience.

This guidance updates and replaces NICE technology appraisal 17 (published in December 2000).

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guidance represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, health professionals are expected to take this guidance fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients. The application of the recommendations in this guidance is at the discretion of health professionals and their individual patients and do not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to provide the funding required to enable the guidance to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients wish to use it, in accordance with the NHS Constitution. They should do so in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities.

Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.