Colorectal cancer is the one of the most common malignancies affecting both men and women. Surgery is the main treatment for resectable colorectal cancer and especially for patients diagnosed in early stages. During surgery, the section of the colon that harbors the tumor alongside the surrounding healthy tissue and nearby lymph nodes are removed.
Traditionally, colorectal tumors were removed through an open surgery, in which the surgeon introduces one large abdominal incision (10-25 cm) to reach the colon. In the early 1990s, innovative and less invasive surgical procedures were introduced and, over time, gained popularity for their safety and recovery times.
Laparoscopic surgery is a specialized minimally invasive surgery in which the surgeon uses several small abdominal incisions (0.5-1 cm) to insert surgical instruments into the abdominal cavity as well as a long thin lighted tube with a camera on the end called laparoscope. The laparoscope transmits images from the abdominal cavity to high-resolution video monitors in the operating room. The surgical instruments function as an extension of the surgeons’ hands to dissect and resect the tumor. During the operation, the surgeon observes the abdomen and manipulates the instruments by watching the monitors. The resected tumor is bagged and pulled out through one of the incisions.
Robotic surgery is a newer version of a laparoscopic surgery and similarly the surgeon uses several small abdominal incisions to insert a camera and surgical instruments. During robotic surgery, however, the surgeon controls the dissection and resection of the tumor by controlling the instruments via a computer console. The camera transmits the 3D images to a high definition computer monitor for increased accuracy and precision.