Colon Cancer

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The Benefits of Robotic Surgery

Dr. Daniel Labow Mount Sinai Health System

If it has been recommended that you undergo surgery for your colon cancer, your doctor may have mentioned the operation being done robotically. Robotic and laparoscopic surgery are both considered minimally invasive surgery, but use different approaches. In both cases, the operation is conducted through multiple 1 cm incisions, but different instruments are used in each case.

Robotic surgery involves the surgeon manipulating surgical instruments from a separate console, where as laparoscopic surgery involves surgeons using long, specialized instruments. Robotic surgery is simply a different way of conducting minimally invasive surgery.

Certain risks are associated with all colon operations, independent of whether a minimally invasive or open approach was used, including leaks from where the colon is put back together and bleeding.

However, both robotic and laparoscopic surgery offer some benefits as compared to open surgery, which include a decreased rate of wound infection, lower risk of getting a hernia and decreased pain postoperatively. However, some studies have found that robotic surgery is more time-consuming and may end up costing more money.

When comparing robotic and laparoscopic operations, some doctors argue that the benefits of robotic surgery include improved visualization, handling of tissue and more precise suturing. However, both techniques are effective when used appropriately, and there are good outcomes with both approaches. One of the most important things to take into consideration when deciding between the two is what your surgeon is most comfortable with. 

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Dr. Daniel Labow is the Chief of the Surgical Oncology Division at Mount Sinai Health System. Read More

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