Robotic-laparoscopic rectal cancer excision versus traditional laparoscopy

Michael S. Tam, Mohammad Abbass, Maher A. Abbas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Robotic surgery has been advocated for the radical excision of rectal cancer. Most data supporting its use have been reported from European and Asian centers, with a paucity of data from the United States documenting clear advantages of the robotic technique. This study compares the short-term outcome of robotic versus laparoscopic surgery.

METHODS: Consecutive patients who underwent laparoscopic (group 1) or robotic (group 2) rectal cancer excision at a single institution over a 2-year period were retrospectively reviewed. The main outcome measures were operative time, blood loss, conversion rates, number of lymph nodes, margin positivity, length of hospital stay, complications, and readmission rates.

RESULTS: Forty-two patients were analyzed. The median operative time was shorter in group 1 than that in group 2 (240 minutes vs 260 minutes, P=.04). No difference was noted in blood loss, transfusion rates, intraoperative complications, or conversion rates. There was no difference in circumferential or distal margin positivity. The median length of stay was shorter in group 1 (5 days vs 6 days, P=.05). The 90-day complication rate was similar in both groups (33% vs 43%, P=.75), but there was a trend toward more anastomotic leaks in group 1 (14% vs 0%, P=.23). Similarly, a non-statistically significant trend toward a higher readmission rate was noted in group 1 (24% vs 5%, P=.18).

CONCLUSION: Robotic rectal cancer excision yielded a longer operative time and hospital length of stay, although immediate oncologic results were comparable. The need for randomized data is critical to determine whether the added resource utilization in robotic surgery is justifiable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJSLS : Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons / Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Laparoscopy
  • Rectal cancer
  • Robotic surgery
  • Total mesorectal excision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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