Robotic surgery enhances the precision of minimally invasive surgery through improved three-dimensional views and articulated instruments. There has been increasing interest in adopting this technology to colorectal surgery and this has recently been introduced to the Irish health system. This paper gives an account of our early institutional experience with adoption of robotic colorectal surgery using structured training. Analysis was conducted of a prospectively maintained database of our first 55 consecutive robotic colorectal cases, performed by four colorectal surgeons, each at the beginning of his robotic surgery experience, using the Da Vinci Si® system and undergoing training as per the European Academy of Robotic Colorectal Surgery (EARCS) programme. Overall surgical and oncological outcomes were interrogated. Fifty-five patients underwent robotic surgery between January 2017 and January 2018, M:F 34:21, median age (range) 60 (35–87) years. Thirty-three patients had colorectal cancer and 22 had benign pathologies. Eleven rectal cancer patients had neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy. BMI was > 30 in 21.8% of patients and 56.4% of patients had previous abdominal surgery. Operative procedures performed were low anterior resection (n = 19), sigmoid colectomy (n = 9), right colectomy (n = 22), ventral mesh rectopexy (n = 3), abdominoperineal resection (n = 1) and reversal of Hartmann’s procedure (n = 1). Median blood loss was 40 ml (range 0–400). Mean operative time (minutes) was 233 (SD 79) for right colectomy and 368 (SD 105) for anterior resection. Median length of hospital stay was 6 days (IQR 5–7). There was no 30-day mortality, intraoperative complications, conversion to laparoscopic or open, or anastomotic leakage. Median lymph nodes harvest was 15 in non-neoadjuvant cases (range 7–23) and 8 in neoadjuvant cases (2–14). Our early results demonstrate that colorectal robotic surgery can be adopted safely for both benign and neoplastic conditions using a structured training programme without compromising clinical or oncological outcomes. The early learning curve can be time intensive.
Robotic surgery Colorectal surgery Da Vinci Si Colorectal cancer
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Conflict of interest
Mohammed Aradaib, Paul Neary, Adnan Hafeez, Reza Kalbassi and Diarmuid O’Riordain declare that they have no conflict of interest. Professor Amjad Parvaiz is a proctor for the European Academy of Robotic Colorectal Surgery which is funded by Intuitive Surgical.
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