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1.  COLOR III: a multicentre randomised clinical trial comparing transanal TME versus laparoscopic TME for mid and low rectal cancer 
Surgical Endoscopy  2015;30:3210-3215.
Total mesorectal excision (TME) is an essential component of surgical management of rectal cancer. Both open and laparoscopic TME have been proven to be oncologically safe. However, it remains a challenge to achieve complete TME with clear circumferential resections margin (CRM) with the conventional transabdominal approach, particularly in mid and low rectal tumours. Transanal TME (TaTME) was developed to improve oncological and functional outcomes of patients with mid and low rectal cancer.
An international, multicentre, superiority, randomised trial was designed to compare TaTME and conventional laparoscopic TME as the surgical treatment of mid and low rectal carcinomas. The primary endpoint is involved CRM. Secondary endpoints include completeness of mesorectum, residual mesorectum, morbidity and mortality, local recurrence, disease-free and overall survival, percentage of sphincter-saving procedures, functional outcome and quality of life. A Quality Assurance Protocol including centralised MRI review, histopathology re-evaluation, standardisation of surgical techniques, and monitoring and assessment of surgical quality will be conducted.
The difference in involvement of CRM between the two treatment strategies is thought to be in favour of the TaTME. TaTME is therefore expected to be superior to laparoscopic TME in terms of oncological outcomes in case of mid and low rectal carcinomas.
PMCID: PMC4956704  PMID: 26537907
Transanal; Total mesorectal excision; TME; TaTME; Laparoscopic; Rectal cancer; Surgical quality
2.  The Sigma-trial protocol: a prospective double-blind multi-centre comparison of laparoscopic versus open elective sigmoid resection in patients with symptomatic diverticulitis 
BMC Surgery  2007;7:16.
Diverticulosis is a common disease in the western society with an incidence of 33–66%. 10–25% of these patients will develop diverticulitis. In order to prevent a high-risk acute operation it is advised to perform elective sigmoid resection after two episodes of diverticulitis in the elderly patient or after one episode in the younger (< 50 years) patient. Open sigmoid resection is still the gold standard, but laparoscopic colon resections seem to have certain advantages over open procedures. On the other hand, a double blind investigation has never been performed. The Sigma-trial is designed to evaluate the presumed advantages of laparoscopic over open sigmoid resections in patients with symptomatic diverticulitis.
Indication for elective resection is one episode of diverticulitis in patients < 50 years and two episodes in patient > 50 years or in case of progressive abdominal complaints due to strictures caused by a previous episode of diverticulits. The diagnosis is confirmed by CT-scan, barium enema and/or coloscopy.
It is required that the participating surgeons have performed at least 15 laparoscopic and open sigmoid resections. Open resection is performed by median laparotomy, laparoscopic resection is approached by 4 or 5 cannula. Sigmoid and colon which contain serosal changes or induration are removed and a tension free anastomosis is created. After completion of either surgical procedure an opaque dressing will be used, covering from 10 cm above the umbilicus to the pubic bone. Surgery details will be kept separate from the patient's notes.
Primary endpoints are the postoperative morbidity and mortality. We divided morbidity in minor (e.g. wound infection), major (e.g. anastomotic leakage) and late (e.g. incisional hernias) complications, data will be collected during hospital stay and after six weeks and six months postoperative. Secondary endpoints are the operative and the postoperative recovery data. Operative data include duration of the operation, blood loss and conversion to laparotomy. Post operative recovery consists of return to normal diet, pain, analgesics, general health (SF-36 questionnaire) and duration of hospital stay.
The Sigma-trial is a prospective, multi-center, double-blind, randomized study to define the role of laparoscopic sigmoid resection in patients with symptomatic diverticulitis.
PMCID: PMC1955435  PMID: 17683563
3.  Phenotypic differences between male physicians, surgeons, and film stars: comparative study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2006;333(7582):1291-1293.
Objectives To test the hypothesis that, on average, male surgeons are taller and better looking than male physicians, and to compare both sets of doctors with film stars who play doctors on screen.
Design Comparative study.
Setting Typical university hospital in Spain, located in Barcelona and not in a sleepy backwater.
Participants Random sample of 12 surgeons and 12 physicians plus 4 external controls (film stars who play doctors), matched by age (50s) and sex (all male).
Interventions An independent committee (all female) evaluated the “good looking score” (range 1-7).
Main outcome measures Height (cm) and points on the good looking score.
Results Surgeons were significantly taller than physicians (mean height 179.4 v 172.6 cm; P=0.01). Controls had significantly higher good looking scores than surgeons (mean score 5.96 v 4.39; difference between means 1.57, 95% confidence interval 0.69 to 2.45; P=0.013) and physicians (5.96 v 3.65; 2.31, 1.58 to 3.04; P=0.003). Surgeons had significantly higher good looking scores than physicians (4.39 v 3.65; 0.74; 0.25 to 1.23; P=0.010).
Conclusions Male surgeons are taller and better looking than physicians, but film stars who play doctors on screen are better looking than both these groups of doctors. Whether these phenotypic differences are genetic or environmental is unclear.
PMCID: PMC1761168  PMID: 17185711

Results 1-3 (3)