Robotic Surgery Center
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Robotic Surgery for Colorectal Cancer

Saint Elizabeth Robotic Surgery Center is the first in the Lincoln area to use the da Vinci® S robotic system for colorectal cancer cases. Colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon and rectum), or CRC is the most common gastrointestinal (GI) cancer.

What types of colon and rectal problems are treated with robotic surgery?
The small, narrow pelvis houses blood vessels and nerves that surgeons must preserve to protect a patient's quality of life. The robotic system can be used to treat diseases and cancers found in these narrow constraints of the pelvis, including rectal and anal cancers, and diverticulitis where pouches form in the wall of the colon. The specific robotic procedure used to treat colorectal cancer depends on the location of the tumor and may include one of the following options:

Robotic low anterior resection (LAR) is used to surgically treat tumors in the upper part of the rectum, where it joins the colon. In this procedure, all or part of the rectum is removed then the colon is surgically reattached to the remaining anus or rectum. The robotic approach is proving well-suited to low anterior resection, since the excellent visualization and precise control provided by the surgical robot can help the surgeon facilitate the complex dissection and suturing of tissue involved in this procedure.

Robotic Hemicolectomy (Left and Right) and Transverse Colon Resection
If the tumor is in the descending colon, which runs down the left side of the abdomen a left hemicolectomy will be performed, in which the diseased portion of colon is surgically removed and the rest of the colon sutured back together. If cancer occurs in the ascending colon (which runs up the right side of the lower abdomen), a similar procedure called a right hemicolectomy is done. For tumors in the middle of the colon (transverse colon) a transverse colon resection is done.

Potential Benefits for Robotic Colorectal Procedures:

  • The 3-D, high-definition image of the operating field provided by the surgical robot facilitates the visualization of tissue in difficult locations such as the deep pelvis, allowing for precise dissections and suturing.
  • Less blood loss which can translate to better patient outcomes in many situations.
  • Robotic colon resection also offers the advantages of minimally invasive surgery, including shorter hospital stays, less postoperative pain and quicker convalescence.
  • In addition, for those patients in need of additional treatments to treat their colon cancer after surgery, minimally invasive techniques can help get them to those treatments more quickly.