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01.01.2012 | Review | Ausgabe 1/2012

Surgical Endoscopy 1/2012

Robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery of the colon and rectum

Surgical Endoscopy > Ausgabe 1/2012
Stavros A. Antoniou, George A. Antoniou, Oliver O. Koch, Rudolf Pointner, Frank A. Granderath



Laparoscopic techniques have induced a tremendous revolution in the field of general surgery. Recent multicenter trials have demonstrated similar patient-oriented and oncologic outcomes for laparoscopic colon and rectal resections compared with their open counterparts. Meanwhile, robotic technology has gradually entered the field of general surgery, allowing increased dexterity, improved operative view, and optimal ergonomics. The objective of this study was to review the current status of clinical robotic applications in colorectal surgery.


A systematic review of the literature using the PubMed search engine was undertaken to identify relevant articles. The keywords used in all possible combinations were: surgical robotics, robotic surgery, computer-assisted surgery, colectomy, sigmoid resection, sigmoidectomy, and rectal resection.


Thirty-nine case series or comparative nonrandomized studies were identified. A specific interest for robot-assisted rectal surgery during the past few years was recorded in the literature. The retrieved articles included 13 ileocecal resections, 220 right colectomies, 190 left colectomies/sigmoid resections, 440 anterior resections, 149 abdominoperineal/intersphincteric resections, and 11 total/subtotal colectomies. The clinical application of the da Vinci robotic system in right and left/sigmoid colectomies yielded satisfactory results in terms of open conversion (1.1 and 3.8%, respectively) and operative morbidity (13.4 and 15.1%, respectively). Robot-assisted anterior resection was accompanied by a considerably low conversion rate (0.4%), morbidity (9.7%), and adequate number of harvested lymph nodes (14.3, mean).


Robotic applications in colorectal surgery are feasible with low conversion rates and favorable morbidity. Further studies are required to evaluate its oncologic and patient-oriented outcomes.

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