What is Robotic Colon Resection?
The colon, also called the large intestine, along with the rectum function to store and expel digested food and waste. Robotic colon resection is the surgical removal of all or a part of the colon using robotic assistance. It is usually performed using the da Vinci surgical system which consists of three components- the surgeon’s console, robotic arms, and a video tower.
The surgeon sits at the console and controls the movements of the robotic arms which are attached to the video tower. One robotic arm holds the camera and the other two or three arms control the surgical instruments that are placed in your abdomen through small openings called ports. The camera provides a high-definition, 3D magnified view of the inside of your body for your surgeon to view at the console.
Indications for Robotic Colon Resection
Robotic colon resection is performed to prevent and treat various medical conditions associated with the colon including colorectal cancer, polyps, intestinal injury, bleeding from the colon, diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease, and bowel obstruction.
Pre-surgical Preparation for Robotic Colon Resection
Before scheduling your surgery, your surgeon will examine your health condition and lab reports. You will be given certain instructions to follow till the date of surgery. You will have certain restrictions regarding your food habits. You should continue your previous medications based on your surgeon’s instructions. You will also be advised to quit smoking if you do and perform regular exercise.
Robotic Colon Resection Procedure
You may be placed in the supine or modified lithotomy position (you will lie on your back with the hips and knees flexed and the thighs apart) depending on your surgeon’s discretion.
- You will be administered general anesthesia.
- A few small incisions are made in your abdomen through which a tiny camera and the surgical instruments are placed.
- Images of the internal organs are visualized on a monitor connected to the da Vinci System.
- Your surgeon operates the da Vinci System from the console and the robotic arms connected to it bend and rotate the surgical instruments as per the surgeon’s instructions.
- The damaged part of your colon is identified and resected (removed).
- Then, the healthy ends of the colon are reattached. In some cases, the colon may be attached to the rectum.
- In the end, the incisions are closed, and a dressing is applied.
In some cases, the resected part of your colon cannot be joined with the rectum and you will require a colostomy. An opening called a stoma is created by your surgeon on the outside of your abdomen, through which the feces will pass and be collected in a colostomy bag.
Post-Surgical Care for Robotic Colon Resection
You will be required to stay in the hospital for some time until you feel comfortable and can eat and move properly.
After discharge, you should follow post-operative instructions for a successful outcome. These include:
- Retain the dressing over the incisions for the first few days.
- Keep the surgical area clean and dry.
- Use prescribed medicines or NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to manage pain.
- Do not lift heavy objects.
- Consume a healthy diet and avoid fatty foods.
- Begin with liquids and soft food items to prevent vomiting.
- Start moving around as soon as possible.
- Regularly follow-up with your surgeon.
- Begin exercise under the guidance of your doctor.
Risk and Complications of Robotic Colon Resection
As with any surgery, complications can occur with robotic colon resection. These may include:
- Anesthesia side effects such as nausea and vomiting
- Injury to the internal organs such as the bladder, uterus, or blood vessels
- Intestinal bleeding
- Leakage and/or constriction at the spot where the bowel is reconnected which may lead to bowel obstruction and hernia
Benefits/Advantages of Robotic Colon Resection
Robotic colon resection offers numerous advantages compared to open and laparoscopic surgery including:
- It provides surgeons with much improved visualization
- Greater accuracy to perform the surgery
- Surgical incisions are smaller
- Less pain after surgery
- Less blood loss
- Lower risk of infection
- Quick healing of scars
- Shorter hospital stay
- Quick recovery and faster return to normal activities