Robotic-assisted laparoscopic low anterior resection with total mesorectal excision for rectal cancer

A Pigazzi, J D I Ellenhorn, G H Ballantyne, I B Paz
Surgical Endoscopy 2006, 20 (10): 1521-5

BACKGROUND: With advanced stereoscopic vision, lack of tremor, and the ability to rotate the instruments surgeons find that robotic systems are ideal laparoscopic tools. Because of its high operating cost, however, robotic surgery should be reserved to procedures in which the technology can be of maximum benefit, usually when precise dissections in confined spaces are required. Because conventional laparoscopic total mesorectal excision is a challenging procedure, we have sought to assess the utility of the DaVinci robotic system in laparoscopic low anterior resections for cancer of the rectum.

METHODS: Between November 2004 and May 2005 robotic-assisted low anterior resection with total mesorectal excision was performed on six consecutive patients with rectal cancer. These cases were compared with six consecutive low anterior resections performed with conventional laparoscopic techniques by the same surgeon.

RESULTS: There were no conversions in either group. Operative and pathological data, complications, and hospital stay were similar in the two groups. Robotic operations appeared to cause less strain for the surgeon.

CONCLUSIONS: Robotic-assisted laparoscopic low anterior resection for rectal cancer is feasible in experienced hands. This technique may facilitate minimally invasive radical rectal surgery.

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