Benefits of Robotic Colectomy

What is colectomy?
A colon resection or colectomy is the surgical procedure employed to treat a range of cancers and benign conditions affecting either the rectum or the colon (also called the large intestine or large bowel). In this procedure, all or part of the colon is removed, and the digestive track is then reconnected by a technique called an intestinal anastomosis.

The goal of colon resection and other colorectal procedures is to treat the condition while preserving normal bowel function. Some conditions that may be treated with colon resection or colectomy are:

  • Colorectal cancer

    For all stages of colorectal cancer, surgery is the most common treatment and it's required in nearly all cases for complete cure. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are sometimes used in addition to surgery. Between 80-90 percent of patients are restored to normal health if the cancer is detected and treated in the earliest stages. The cure rate drops to 50 percent or less when diagnosed in the later stages.

    Resections for Colon Cancer

    • Right/Left Hemicolectomy Resection: Removal of the ascending (right) colon and descending (left) colon, respectively.
    • Sigmoid Resection (Sigmoidectomy): Resection of the sigmoid colon, sometimes including part/all of the rectum.

    Resections for Rectal Cancer

    • Low Anterior Resection: The tumor is removed without affecting the anus; the colon is attached to the anus and waste leaves the body in the usual way.
    • Abdominal Perineal Resection: Removal of the anus, the rectum and part of the sigmoid colon along with the associated lymph nodes, through incisions made in the abdomen and perineum. The end of the remaining sigmoid colon is brought out permanently as an opening, called a stoma, on the surface of the abdomen.
  • Diverticulitis
  • Benign or precancerous polyps
  • Injuries or block in the intestine

Today, the vast majority of colon resections are still performed using an open approach, or a large abdominal incision which often extends from the public bone to just below the sternum. Although very common, these open procedures involve an increased risk of complications, including infection, and require an extended hospital stay and recovery time.

Patients also have some more minimally invasive options available to them, such as conventional laparoscopic surgery where small incisions are used to insert long shafted instruments. These techniques can be very effective, but have inherent limitations when either the procedure or the anatomy is challenging or complex.

What is robotic colectomy?

The robotic colectomy is a revolutionary alternative to traditional open surgery and conventional laparoscopic surgery that allows surgeons to provide patients with the best of both approaches. With the assistance of the da Vinici-S Surgical System, surgeons can now operate using only 1-2 cm incisions, and with greater precision and control than ever before.

For most patients, robotic colectomies may/can offer numerous benefits including:

  • Better clinical outcomes
  • Quicker return to bowel function
  • Quicker return to normal diet
  • Significantly less pain
  • Less blood loss
  • Less risk of wound infection
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Shorter recovery time

The robotic colectomy is a very precise and specific procedure requiring significant training. Currently there are only a handful of surgeons in the country performing these procedures, including: Susan Cera, M.D. and Anthony Vernava, M.D.

Who can have a robotic colectomy?

Unless a total abdominal colectomy is required, most patients needing a colectomy are candidates for a robotic colectomy. Even patients who have had prior abdominal surgery may receive a robotic colectomy.