Purpose. Robotic surgery has gradually gained importance in the treatment of rectal cancer. However, recent studies have not shown any advantages when compared with laparoscopy. The objective of this study is to report a single surgeon’s experience in robotic rectal surgery focusing on short-term and long-term outcomes. Methods. Sixty consecutive robotic rectal resections for adenocarcinoma, over a 4-year period, were retrospectively reviewed. Patients’ characteristics and perioperative outcomes were analyzed. Oncological outcomes and surgical resection quality as well as overall and disease-free survival were also assessed. Results. Thirty patients out of 60 (50%) underwent neoadjuvant therapy. Anterior rectal resection was performed in 52 cases (86.7%), and abdominoperineal resection was done in 8 cases (13.3%). Mean operative time was 283 (±68.6) minutes. The conversion rate was 5% (3 patients). Postoperative complications occurred in 10 cases (16.7%), and reoperation was required in 1 case (1.7%). Mean hospital stay was 9 days, while 30-day mortality was 1.7% (1 patients). The histopathological analysis reported a negative circumferential radial margin and distal margins in 100% of cases with a complete or near complete total mesorectal excision in 98.3% of patients. Mean follow-up was 32.8 months with a recurrence rate of 3.4% (2 patients). Overall survival and disease-free survival were 94% and 87%, respectively. Conclusions. Robotic surgery for rectal cancer proves to be safe and feasible when performed by highly skilled surgeons. It offers acceptable perioperative outcomes with a conversion rate notably lower than with the laparoscopic approach. Adequate pathological results and long-term oncological outcomes were also obtained.
- colorectal surgery
- evidence-based medicine/surgery
- robotic surgery