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Colon Resection

Procedure overview

Colon resection, also referred to as a bowel resection is a surgery that’s done to treat cancer in the small intestine, colon, rectum or anus, treat or relieve symptoms of cancer that has spread to the intestine, remove a blockage in the intestine (called a bowel obstruction), remove as much cancer as possible (called debulking), remove precancerous conditions before they become cancer (called prophylactic surgery), remove parts of the colon that are damaged by an inflammatory bowel disease or diverticulitis, fix a tear or hole in the intestine (called a bowel perforation).[1]

A colon resection can be done using different techniques, and depending on what type of surgery you have your surgeon will make one or more incisions (surgical cuts) in your abdomen (belly).

    • When one long incision is made on your abdomen, this is called open surgery. The part of your colon that has the cancer is removed through the incision.
    • When several small incisions are made on your abdomen, this is called minimally invasive surgery. Small surgical instruments and a video camera are inserted into the incisions to remove the part of your colon that has the cancer.
    • Robotic assisted colon resection is a minimally invasive surgery that some surgeons use. It involves the surgeon sitting at a console while directing surgical arms to conduct the surgery.

During surgery the part of your colon containing the cancer is removed, and the remaining ends of your colon are then sewn back together.  This is called an Anastomosis.[1]

Learn more about what robotic assisted surgery is and how surgeons use the technology here.

Figure 1. Open vs. Robotic Port Placement

Learn more about what robotic assisted surgery is and how surgeons use the technology here.


Potential Benefits​

Reported benefits of robotic assisted colon resection surgery include:

  • Patients may experience fewer complications compared to patients who had open [2],[3] and laparoscopic [4],[5],[6],[7] surgery.
  • Patients may stay in the hospital for a shorter amount of time than patients who had open [2],[8] or laparoscopic [2],[4],[5],[6],[9],[10] surgery.
  • Surgeons may be less likely to switch to an open procedure when performing surgery with da Vinci, compared to a laparoscopic surgery.[2],[3],[4]

Additional Patient Resources

Visit the the Canadian Cancer Society website for more informational about the disease, diagnosis, treatment options and support available.

Community Groups

Educational Videos

Dr. Amir L. Bastawrous, a colon and rectal surgeon at Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle, discusses robotic colectomy

Risks & Considerations

Not everyone is a candidate for robotic assisted procedures, and other treatment options may be available and appropriate. Only a doctor can determine whether robotic assisted surgery is appropriate for a patient’s situation. Surgery of any form contains risks and it is important to discuss risks with your provider. Patients and doctors should review all available information on both non-surgical and surgical options in order to make an informed decision. Patients have also developed support areas where they are able to speak with each other about the surgery, their experiences, and any issues that they have faced during their treatment. To learn more check out the additional resources above or visit the community section of this website.
[1]https://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/prostate/treatment/?region=on

[2] https://www.prostatecentre.com/patient-information/diseases-prostate/prostate-cancer/treatments/prostatectomy

[3] https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/radical-prostatectomy

[4] Fuller, Andrew, and Stephen E. Pautler. “Complications Following Robot-Assisted Radical Prostatectomy in a Prospective Canadian Cohort of 305 Consecutive Cases.” Canadian Urological Association Journal, vol. 6, no. 2, 2 Mar. 2012, 10.5489/cuaj.11116. Accessed 16 Oct. 2019.

[5] Zakaria, A.S., et al. “Impact of Surgical Wait Times during Summer Months on the Oncological Outcomes Following Robotic-Assisted Radical Prostatectomy: 10 Years’ Experience from a Large Canadian Academic Center.” European Urology Open Science, vol. 19, July 2020, pp. e588–e589, 10.1016/s2666-1683(20)32962-1. Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

[6] Ilic  D, Evans  SM, Allan  CA, Jung  JH, Murphy  D, Frydenberg  M. Laparoscopic and robotic‐assisted versus open radical prostatectomy for the treatment of localised prostate cancer. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2017, Issue 9. Art. No.: CD009625. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009625.pub2.

[7] Yaxley, John W, et al. “Robot-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy versus Open Radical Retropubic Prostatectomy: Early Outcomes from a Randomised Controlled Phase 3 Study.” The Lancet, vol. 388, no. 10049, Sept. 2016, pp. 1057–1066, 10.1016/s0140-6736(16)30592-x. Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

[8] Coughlin, Geoffrey D, et al. “Robot-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy versus Open Radical Retropubic Prostatectomy: 24-Month Outcomes from a Randomised Controlled Study.” The Lancet Oncology, vol. 19, no. 8, Aug. 2018, pp. 1051–1060, www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045(18)30357-7/fulltext, 10.1016/s1470-2045(18)30357-7. Accessed 20 Jan. 2020.

[9] Sooriakumaran, P., et al. “A Meta-Analysis Comparing Positive Surgical Margin and Complication Rates of 110,016 Patients Undergoing Open Retropubic, Laparoscopic, and Robotic-Assisted Radical Prostatectomy.” Journal of Clinical Oncology, vol. 29, no. 7_suppl, 1 Mar. 2011, pp. 103–103, 10.1200/jco.2011.29.7_suppl.103. Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

Risks & Considerations

Not everyone is a candidate for robotic assisted procedures, and other treatment options may be available and appropriate. Only a doctor can determine whether robotic assisted surgery is appropriate for a patient’s situation. Surgery of any form contains risks and it is important to discuss risks with your provider. Patients and doctors should review all available information on both non-surgical and surgical options in order to make an informed decision.
Patients have also developed support areas where they are able to speak with each other about the surgery, their experiences, and any issues that they have faced during their treatment. To learn more check out the additional resources above or visit the community section of this website.

[1] https://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/diagnosis-and-treatment/tests-and-procedures/bowel-resection/?region=on

[2] Benlice C, Aytac E, Costedio M, Kessler H, Abbas M, Remzi F, Gorgun E. Robotic, laparoscopic, and open colectomy: a case‐matched comparison from the ACS‐NSQIP. Int J Med Robot. 2017 Sep;13(3). doi: 10.1002/rcs.1783.

[3] Moghadamyeghaneh Z, Hanna MH, Carmichael JC, Pigazzi A, Stamos MJ, Mills S. Comparison of open, laparoscopic, and robotic approaches for total abdominal colectomy. Surg Endosc. 2016 Jul;30(7):2792-8. doi: 10.1007/s00464-015-4552-8.

[4] Chang Y, Wang J, Chang D. A meta-analysis of robotic versus laparoscopic colectomy. Journal of Surgical Research. 2015;195(2):465-474. doi:10.1016/j.jss.2015.01.026.

[5] Altieri M, Yang J, Telem D et al. Robotic approaches may offer benefit in colorectal procedures, more controversial in other areas: a review of 168,248 cases. Surgical Endoscopy. 2015;30(3):925-933. doi:10.1007/s00464-015-4327-2.

[6] Trastulli S, Cirocchi R, Desiderio J, Coratti A, Guarino S, Renzi C, Corsi A, Boselli C, Santoro A, Minelli L, Parisi A. Robotic versus Laparoscopic Approach in Colonic Resections for Cancer and Benign Diseases: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLoS One. 2015 Jul 27;10(7):e0134062. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134062.

[7] Wang W, Xu H, Li Z, Sun Y, Xu Z. Meta-analysis comparing robotic right colectomy with laparoscopic right colectomy on clinical short-term outcomes. Zhonghua Wei Chang Wai Ke Za Zhi. 2015 May;18(5):463-8.

[8] Luca F, Ghezzi TL, Valvo M, Cenciarelli S, Pozzi S, Radice D, Crosta C, Biffi R. Surgical and pathological outcomes after right hemicolectomy: case-matched study comparing robotic and open surgery. Int J Med Robot. 2011 Sep;7(3):298-303. doi: 10.1002/rcs.398.

[9] Lim S, Kim JH, Baek SJ, Kim SH, Lee SH. Comparison of perioperative and short-term outcomes between robotic and conventional laparoscopic surgery for colonic cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Ann Surg Treat Res. 2016 Jun;90(6):328-39. doi: 10.4174/astr.2016.90.6.328.

[10] Al-Mazrou AM, Chiuzan C, Kiran RP. The robotic approach significantly reduces length of stay after colectomy: a propensity score-matched analysis. Int J Colorectal Dis. 2017 Oct;32(10):1415-1421. doi: 10.1007/s00384-017-2845-1.