Robotic Colorectal Surgery
Surgery is the primary treatment of rectal cancer often in combination with radiation prior to surgery depending on the stage of the tumor. The rectum sits in the pelvis behind uterus or prostate and the bladder. The pelvis is a narrow confined space due to the pelvic bony structure. In rectal cancer surgery the entire rectum with the surrounding fatty tissue containing lymph nodes and the draining blood vessels need to be removed. This surgical technique is called total mesorectal excision (TME). A new rectum can then be created by pulling the healthy colon into the pelvis and creating a re-connection. However if the cancer involves the sphincter muscles the anus has to be removed together with the rectum and a permanent colostomy needs to be created.
Due to the limited space in the pelvis it is extremely difficult to perform these procedures with standard laparoscopy. The da Vinci robotic system allows for a precise dissection around the rectum with the help of miniaturized wristed instruments that rotate 360 degrees. The three dimensional vision allows the physician to identify anatomic structures, such as the pelvic nerves, and preserve them. Recent clinical studies show promising results in the use of robotic technology for rectal cancer surgery.
When applicable, we offer patients minimally invasive technologies such as laparoscopy and the new da Vinci robotic Surgical System. The advantages are less blood loss, less pain and smaller incisions, shorter hospital stays and recovery time and fewer complications with quicker return to normal activities.