Dealing with robot-assisted surgery for rectal cancer: Current status and perspectives

Roberto Biffi, Fabrizio Luca, Paolo Pietro Bianchi, Sabina Cenciarelli, Wanda Luisa Petz, Igor Monsellato, Manuela Valvo, Maria Laura Cossu, Tiago Leal Ghezzi, Kassem Shmaissany

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The laparoscopic approach for treatment of rectal cancer has been proven feasible and oncologically safe, and is able to offer better short-term outcomes than traditional open procedures, mainly in terms of reduced length of hospital stay and time to return to working activity. In spite of this, the laparoscopic technique is usually practised only in high-volume experienced centres, mainly because it requires a prolonged and demanding learning curve. It has been estimated that over 50 operations are required for an experienced colorectal surgeon to achieve proficiency with this technique. Robotic surgery enables the surgeon to perform minimally invasive operations with better vision and more intuitive and precise control of the operating instruments, thus promising to overcome some of the technical difficulties associated with standard laparoscopy. It has high-definition threedimensional vision, it translates the surgeon's hand movements into precise movements of the instruments inside the patient, the camera is held and moved by the first surgeon, and a fourth robotic arm is available as a fixed retractor. The aim of this review is to summarise the current data on clinical and oncologic outcomes of robot-assisted surgery in rectal cancer, focusing on short-and long-term results, and providing original data from the authors' centre.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-556
Number of pages11
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 14 2016


  • Circumferential resection margin
  • Distal resection margin positivity
  • Lymph node yield
  • Rectal cancer
  • Robotic resection
  • Robotic surgery
  • Robotic total mesorectal excision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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