Robotic versus laparoscopic total mesorectal excision for rectal cancer: a comparative analysis of oncological safety and short-term outcomes
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We assessed feasibility, short-term oncologic safety, and short-term outcomes in robotic total mesorectal excision (R-TME) for rectal cancer compared with laparoscopic TME.
From March 2008 to June 2009, 50 patients with proven middle/lower rectal adenocarcinoma underwent minimally invasive TME; 25 received R-TME. The groups were balanced (R-TME versus L-TME) in terms of age (median 69 versus 62 years; p = 0.8), disease stage, and body mass index (median 23 versus 26.5 kg/m2; p = 0.06). There were 37 (74%) anterior resections and 13 (26%) abdominoperineal resections. Twenty-three (46%) patients received preoperative radiochemotherapy. The robot was a four-arm Da Vinci S (Intuitive Surgical, Sunnyvale, CA, USA).
Median operating time (R-TME versus L-TME) was 240 versus 237 min (p = 0.2); first bowel movement was 2 versus 3 days (p = 0.5); median hospital stay was 6.5 versus 6 days (p = 0.4). Major complications with reoperation were two in R-TME (one anastomotic leakage, one small bowel perforation) and three in L-TME (one colonic ischemia, two anastomotic leakage). Postoperative complications were 16% versus 24% (p = 0.5). A median of 18 versus 17 (p = 0.7) lymph nodes were retrieved; distal resection margins were disease free in both groups; circumferential margin was involved (<1.0 mm) in one (4%) of L-TME. There were 0 versus 1 (5%) conversions to laparotomy.
R-TME in rectal cancer is feasible, with short-term oncologic and other outcomes similar to those of L-TME. The greater maneuverability and visibility afforded by the robotic approach are attractive. Future studies should more systematically address advantages and costs of R-TME.
KeywordsRectal cancer Laparoscopic surgery Total mesorectal excision Robotic surgery Laparoscopic rectal resection Robotic rectal resection
The authors thank Darina Tamayo for help in the preparation and Don Ward for help with English.
Authors Paolo Pietro Bianchi, Chiara Ceriani, Andrea Locatelli, Giuseppe Spinoglio, Maria Giulia Zampino, Angelica Sonzogni, Cristiano Crosta, and Bruno Andreoni have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.
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