Robotic Colorectal Surgery: Are You a Candidate?

Medically reviewed by: Gary H. Hoffman, MD

Robotic Colorectal Surgery.  The Hospital.  The Surgeon.  The Patient.

Am I A Candidate For Robotic Colon Or Rectal Surgery At Cedars-SinaiThere are several conditions which require surgical intervention.  In the modern surgical era, there are several ways to accomplish the operation.  The procedure can be performed in a traditional, open fashion, or through a minimally invasive technique such as laparoscopic surgery, or robotic surgery, also known as robot-assisted surgery or robot surgery.  However, two things are constant; the need for a skilled surgeon and team, and the need for a hospital with a surgical robot.  Cedars-SinaiMedicalCenter is such a hospital.

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The procedure itself is performed by a colon and rectal surgeon, also known as a proctologist.  The surgeon, and a trained assistant, guide the robot instruments through the operation.  The robot does not move on its own.  It is considered a “slave robot”.  The robot is made by Intuitive Surgical™ and is called the da Vinci Si®.

How Does It work?

In minimally invasive surgery, several small hollow tubes, or ports, are placed through the abdominal wall, into the abdomen.  The operation is performed under general anesthesia.  Working instruments are placed through the ports and the surgeon grasps the instruments and moves them through the operation.  The surgeon remains at the side of the patient.

In robotic surgery, after the ports are placed, the robot is brought next to the patient and “docked”.  In docking, the arms of the robot are mated (attached) to the ports.  The surgeon now sits at a console and guides the instruments from the console.  A first assistant remains at the patient’s side to assist with various parts of the operation such as changing instruments.

What Are The Advantages of Robotic Surgery?

  • Smaller incisions when compared with open operations.
  • A faster return to work or daily activities.
  • A reduction of the normal human tremor.
  • Less blood loss when compared to open surgery.
  • Enhanced, 3-Dimensional vision, allowing the surgeon to better see the pelvic nerves which control continence and sexuality.

Am  I A Candidate for Robotic Surgery?

There are 6 areas of abdominal surgery in which a robotic approach can be used.  They are:

  • Resection of certain colon cancers
  • Resection of rectal cancer.
  • Resection of certain parts of the colon affected by diverticulitis.
  • Repair of rectal prolapse (rectal protrusion).  This is called a rectopexy.
  • Repair of enterocele.
  • Removal of certain recurrent pelvic tumors or complex pelvic tumors.

Los AngelesColon and Rectal Surgical Associates.

The surgeons of Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates are trained and certified in the use of the robot in colorectal operations.  Your first step in learning whether you are a candidate is to schedule a consultation.  You can do this by calling (310)273-2310.  You will be examined and will be advised as to the possibility of your operation being performed using a surgical robot.  You will have a chance to ask questions and understand your treatment.

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