Robotic-assisted surgery for colorectal cancer

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What is robotic-assisted surgery?

Robotic-assisted surgery (also called robotic surgery) is a type of minimally invasive surgery.

Robotic surgery allows doctors to perform complex procedures with more precision, flexibility, and control than is possible with the human hand.

Instead of a large incision, the surgeon makes a few very small incisions (about ¼ to ½ inch) into the abdomen to insert the small “arms” of the robot. A slightly larger incision, about two inches wide, is made to remove the tumor.

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Why have robotic-assisted surgery?

Advantages to robotic-assisted surgery are similar to those of laparoscopic surgery.

They include:

  • Less recovery time
  • Lower risk of infection
  • Smaller scars
  • Less pain and discomfort after surgery
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Speedier return to normal activities
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Who is eligible for a robotic-assisted colectomy?

Many colorectal cancer patients are good candidates for robotic-assisted colectomy surgery.

The best option for you depends on several factors, including:

  • your overall health
  • your medical history
  • your surgeon’s experience
  • the cancer stage
  • the cancer location

What happens during a robotic-assisted surgery?

  • During this type of procedure, the surgeon operates a robotic surgical system that has a camera arm and mechanical arms with surgical instruments attached to them.
  • The surgeon controls the arms while seated at a computer near the operating table and can see the procedure in a high-definition, magnified, 3-D view.
  • Carbon dioxide gas is used to inflate the abdomen and create space for the surgeon to see and operate inside the abdominal cavity.
  • The surgeon will remove the segment of the colon or rectum that contains the tumor through the larger incision, along with some lymph nodes.
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More about robotic-assisted surgery and colorectal cancer

Learn more about how robotic-assisted surgery is used for colorectal surgery in this helpful video.

laparoscopic surgery with doctors

What's the difference between robotic-assisted and laparoscopic surgery?

While these two methods are similar, there are some differences:

Laparoscopic surgery is performed by hand, with the help of a two-dimensional camera.

Robotic-assisted surgery requires the surgeon to operate instruments from outside the patient’s body, using aconsole and a three-dimensional camera.

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