COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Robotic versus laparoscopic total mesorectal excision for rectal cancer: a meta-analysis

Binghong Xiong, Li Ma, CaiQuan Zhang, Yong Cheng
Journal of Surgical Research 2014 May 15, 188 (2): 404-14
24565506

BACKGROUND: Robotic surgery has been used successfully in many branches of surgery; but there is little evidence in the literature on its use in rectal cancer (RC). We conducted this meta-analysis that included randomized controlled trials and nonrandomized controlled trials of robotic total mesorectal excision (RTME) versus laparoscopic total mesorectal excision (LTME) to evaluate whether the safety and efficacy of RTME in patients with RC are equivalent to those of LTME.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Pubmed, Embase, Cochrane Library, Ovid, and Web of Science databases were searched. Studies clearly documenting a comparison of RTME with LTME for RC were selected. Operative and recovery outcomes, early postoperative morbidity, and oncological parameters were evaluated.

RESULTS: Eight studies were identified that included 1229 patients in total, 554 (45.08%) in the RTME and 675 (54.92%) in the LTME. Meta-analysis suggested that the conversion rate to open surgery in RTME was significantly lower than in LTME (P = 0.0004). There were no significant differences in operation time, estimated blood loss, recovery outcome, postoperative morbidity and mortality, length of hospital stay, and the oncological accuracy of resection and local recurrence between the two groups. The positive rate of circumferential resection margins (P = 0.04) and the incidence of erectile dysfunction (P = 0.002) were lower in RTME compared with LTME.

CONCLUSIONS: RTME for RC is safe and feasible, and the short- and medium-term oncological and functional outcomes are equivalent or preferable to LTME. It may be an alternative treatment for RC. More multicenter randomized controlled trials investigating the long-term oncological and functional outcomes are required to determine the advantages of RTME over LTME in RC.

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