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Possibilities of robotic surgery at the service of rectal cancer

There are certain aspects of surgical treatment of rectal cancer that differentiate it from surgery on other areas of the large intestine, such as the involvement of the pelvis and proximity to the anus. Rectal surgery may result in difficulty with bowel movements and problems with urinary and sexual function.

Technological developments have facilitated surgical treatment of this cancer and have provided surgeons with techniques making radical treatment possible, with a high cure rate and fewer after effects.

MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid uses a wide range of techniques that are applied depending on the stage of the tumor: from endoscopic resection with wire loop biopsy forceps, endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) of large benign polyps or very superficial malignant tumors, or the resection of infiltrating malignant tumors in early stages with minimally invasive transanal surgery (TAMIS), and oncological resection of advanced rectal tumors with complete mesorectal excision by abdominal laparoscopy or in combination with transanal surgery (TATME ).

The latest technology to be incorporated to surgically treat rectal cancer is the Da Vinci robot, which has many advantages for the patient.

The excellent field of vision, versatility and maneuverability of the instruments controlled by the surgeon allow the dissection to be more precise without damaging surrounding structures involved in urinary and sexual function, as well as the radical removal of tumors near the anus, thus preserving tissue and function and avoiding the need of a permanent colostomy.

The advantages of robotic surgery mean that the Gastrointestinal Surgical Oncology Department at MD Anderson Madrid can treat other types of tumor in the pancreas, liver, stomach, and so on, or other benign conditions.

Dr. Óscar Alonso, Head of Hepatobiliopancreatic Surgery