Robotic Surgery

roboticRobotic Surgery can be used to treat a number of different conditions in the colon.

Benign Colorectal Conditions

Diverticulitis is a condition that occurs when a small pouch forms and becomes inflamed in the colon. The most common symptom is abdominal pain and has been linked to a low fibre diet, although the exact cause is unknown. Most patients with diverticular disease do not require an operation.

Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease are jointly known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD causes the digestive tract to become inflamed and may cause diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever and weight loss. The exact cause of IBD is unknown. Most patients with IBD can be treated with medications.

Rectal Prolapse occurs when the wall of the rectum falls into the anus. A mass that sticks out from the anus is the most common symptom. It is a condition occurs more common in the elderly females and is often linked to constipation and/or previous childbirth.

Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer often begins as non-cancerous (benign) polyps in the glands of the colon or rectal lining and slowly develops into cancer. Symptoms may include blood in stools, changes in bowel habit, narrow stools and unexplained weight loss. It is more common in men, in people over age 60 and in developed countries.


Treatment of the different types of colorectal disease varies and depends on the severity and progression of the condition. One option for many of these conditions is colorectal surgery.

When the affected part of the colon is removed and the healthy parts are joined back together, this is known as a colectomy or colon resection. Traditionally this is performed via open surgery that includes a large open abdominal incision made from the pubic bone to just below the breastbone. This can be traumatic and take a significant length of time to heal.

Laproscopic surgery is a minimally invasive surgery. Using a unique robotic system, only a few incisions are requires, which allows for a more rapid recovery and less trauma. This also preserves nerves to the bladder and sexual organs and reduces the risks of urinary dysfunction and impotence.

Some potential benefits:

The robotic system provides surgeons with enhanced capabilities including high-definition 3D vision and a magnified view. The 3D images provided are superior to the 2D image provided by conventional laparoscopy. The surgeon’s hand movements are translated into smaller more precise movements of tiny instruments inside the body. Although called a “robot”, the instrument does not act on its own. Your doctor performs the surgery, but the robotic system allows the surgery to be performed through just a few small openings. The instruments give a higher degree of freedom and thus provide better access in a confined space that is the pelvic cavity.

Adapted from Intuitive Surgical pamphlets on Robotic Surgery

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