Colorectal cancer is the one of the most common cancers affecting both men and women. Surgery is the main treatment for removable colorectal cancer, especially for patients diagnosed in the early stages. During surgery, the part of the colon, and sometimes rectum, that has the tumor along with some of the surrounding healthy tissue and nearby lymph nodes are removed.
Colorectal tumors can be removed through an open surgery, in which the surgeon makes one large cut in the abdomen (10-25 cm) to reach the colon. In the early 1990s, innovative and less invasive surgical procedures were introduced and, over time, have gained popularity for their safety and recovery times.
Laparoscopic surgery is a specialized minimally invasive surgery in which the surgeon uses several small cuts in the abdomen (0.5-1 cm) to insert surgical instruments into the abdominal cavity, including a long and thin lighted tube with a camera on the end called a laparoscope. A larger incision, about 3-5 cm wide, is made to remove the part of the colon or rectum that contains the tumor. The laparoscope shows images from the abdominal cavity on high-resolution video monitors in the operating room. The surgical instruments become an extension of the surgeon's hands. During the operation, the surgeon looks at the abdomen and moves the instruments by watching the monitors. The tumor is removed through the larger incision(s).
Robotic surgery is a newer version of a laparoscopic surgery. The surgeon uses several small cuts in the abdomen to insert a camera and surgical instruments. During robotic surgery, however, the surgeon works by controlling instruments using a computer console. The camera transmits 3D images to a high-definition computer monitor for increased accuracy and precision.