Surgical Endoscopy

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 455–463 | Cite as

A population-based study comparing laparoscopic and robotic outcomes in colorectal surgery

  • Michael S. Tam
  • Christodoulos Kaoutzanis
  • Andrew J. Mullard
  • Scott E. Regenbogen
  • Michael G. Franz
  • Samantha Hendren
  • Greta Krapohl
  • James F. Vandewarker
  • Richard M. Lampman
  • Robert K. Cleary



Current data addressing the role of robotic surgery for the management of colorectal disease are primarily from single-institution and case-matched comparative studies as well as administrative database analyses. The purpose of this study was to compare minimally invasive surgery outcomes using a large regional protocol-driven database devoted to surgical quality, improvement in patient outcomes, and cost-effectiveness.


This is a retrospective cohort study from the prospectively collected Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative registry designed to compare outcomes of patients who underwent elective laparoscopic, hand-assisted laparoscopic, and robotic colon and rectal operations between July 1, 2012 and October 7, 2014. We adjusted for differences in baseline covariates between cases with different surgical approaches using propensity score quintiles modeled on patient demographics, general health factors, diagnosis, and preoperative co-morbidities. The primary outcomes were conversion rates and hospital length of stay. Secondary outcomes included operative time, and postoperative morbidity and mortality.


A total of 2735 minimally invasive colorectal operations met inclusion criteria. Conversion rates were lower with robotic as compared to laparoscopic operations, and this was statistically significant for rectal resections (colon 9.0 vs. 16.9 %, p < 0.06; rectum 7.8 vs. 21.2 %, p < 0.001). The adjusted length of stay for robotic colon operations (4.00 days, 95 % CI 3.63–4.40) was significantly shorter compared to laparoscopic (4.41 days, 95 % CI 4.17–4.66; p = 0.04) and hand-assisted laparoscopic cases (4.44 days, 95 % CI 4.13–4.78; p = 0.008). There were no significant differences in overall postoperative complications among groups.


When compared to conventional laparoscopy, the robotic platform is associated with significantly fewer conversions to open for rectal operations, and significantly shorter length of hospital stay for colon operations, without increasing overall postoperative morbidity. These findings and the recent upgrades in minimally invasive technology warrant continued evaluation of the role of the robotic platform in colorectal surgery.


Laparoscopic colorectal surgery Hand-assisted laparoscopic colorectal surgery Robotic colorectal surgery Conversion rates Complication rates Length of hospital stay 



Dr. Michael S. Tam, Dr. Christodoulos Kaoutzanis, Andrew J. Mullard, Dr. Scott R. Regenbogen, Dr. Michael G. Franz, Dr. Samantha Hendren, Dr. Greta Krapohl, James F. Vandewarker, and Dr. Richard M. Lampman have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose. Dr. Cleary is an educational speaker and has received honoraria from Intuitive Surgical Inc.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael S. Tam
    • 1
  • Christodoulos Kaoutzanis
    • 1
  • Andrew J. Mullard
    • 2
  • Scott E. Regenbogen
    • 3
  • Michael G. Franz
    • 1
  • Samantha Hendren
    • 3
  • Greta Krapohl
    • 2
  • James F. Vandewarker
    • 1
  • Richard M. Lampman
    • 1
  • Robert K. Cleary
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Colorectal Surgery, Department of SurgerySaint Joseph Mercy Health SystemAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Michigan Surgical Quality CollaborativeUniversity of Michigan Health SystemAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Division of Colorectal Surgery, Department of SurgeryUniversity of Michigan Health SystemAnn ArborUSA

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