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Robotic Colorectal Surgery

Doctors at Orlando Health are leaders in robotic colorectal (colon) surgery. As a recognized epicenter for da Vinci® robotic colorectal surgery, Orlando Health is visited by doctors from across the country to receive training from our skilled surgeons in colon and rectal surgery.

As with other difficult-to-reach areas of the body, surgeons have an advantage using the da Vinci® robotic system.  Because of the increased dexterity and flexibility that the robotic arms offer, as well as improved visualization inside the body thanks to the 3D camera, surgeons can perform colon surgery with just a few small incisions. In contrast, traditional open surgery requires a long incision down the abdomen, and conventional laparoscopic instruments can only be rotated by hand by four degrees.

Robotic colorectal surgery has shown to provide excellent clinical outcomes for cancer control. Compared to traditional open surgery, it offers a reduced risk of infection, less postoperative pain, quicker return of bowel function, a shorter hospital stay and faster overall recovery. 

Robotic Colectomy

The colon, or large intestine, is the lower part of the intestines. A colectomy, also called a colon resection, is performed to treat colon cancer, infections and inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease). In a partial colectomy, only part of the colon is removed. In a total colectomy, all of the colon is removed.

When a colectomy is required to treat a cancerous tumor, the surgeon must remove both the tumor and the vascular and lymph structures connected to that portion of the colon. Depending on the stage of the cancer, this operation can be curative.  

A robotic colectomy is performed with several small incisions instead of one long incision down the center of the abdomen which is done in an open colectomy. Other advantages of a robotic colectomy include a shorter hospital stay, reduced postoperative pain and faster recovery period. The gastrointestinal tract usually recovers more rapidly with robotic surgery so patients can resume eating sooner. Also, it is sometimes possible to avoid the need for narcotic pain medicines after a robotic colectomy.

Recovery from the robotic procedure generally takes 2–3 weeks compared to 4–6 weeks for conventional open surgery.

Robotic Colostomy Reversal

A colostomy is a surgical procedure in which part of the colon is diverted to an opening created in the abdominal wall in order for waste to bypass a damaged part of the colon.

Colostomy surgery is done for many different diseases and conditions. Depending on why it’s needed, a colostomy can be temporary — until the patient heals — or permanent. The main reasons for a temporary colostomy can include bowel cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis and injuries to the bowel.

For patients with a temporary condition, a colostomy reversal is performed to reconnect the colon to the rectum. Common advantages of a robotic colostomy reversal compared to traditional open surgery include a shortened hospital stay, less scarring, less postoperative pain, a quicker return to a solid-food diet, a quicker return of bowel function, and a faster return to normal activities. Recovery from a robotic colostomy reversal generally takes 2–3 weeks compared to 4–6 weeks for traditional open surgery.

Robotic Rectal Resection

Rectal cancer surgery to remove part or all or the rectum (the lower part of the colon) is known as a rectal resection. Because of the confined space within the pelvis, surgery for rectal cancer is one of the more challenging types of surgery. Traditional open surgery requires the surgeon to make a large incision down the middle of the patient's abdomen to be able to see and remove the cancer. Robotic-assisted surgery, however, involves the surgeon making several small incisions thanks to the ability to see a three-dimensional view of the pelvis. In addition, the robotic instruments allow for a much wider degree of rotation than the human hand.   

Advantages to the patient treated by the robotic procedure include less blood loss, less postoperative pain, a shorter hospital stay and a faster recovery. Recovery from a robotic rectal resection generally takes 2–3 weeks compared to 4–6 weeks for conventional open surgery.

Robotic Rectopexy

Rectal prolapse occurs when muscles that hold the rectum in place weaken, causing the the rectum to protrude beyond the anal canal to outside the body.  Symptoms of rectal prolapse include fecal incontinence, constipation, mucous secretion, bleeding and pain.

Rectopexy is a procedure that restores the rectum to its normal position by suspending the rectum with mesh and stitches. Benefits of a robotic procedure for this surgery include smaller incisions, increased suturing flexibility for the surgeon, fewer complications and less pain than traditional open surgery. Recovery from the robotic procedure generally takes 2–3 weeks compared to 4–6 weeks for traditional open surgery.

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To view a listing of physicians performing robotic colorectal surgery, click here.