Robotic-assisted total mesorectal excision (TME) for rectal cancer results in a significantly higher quality of TME specimen compared to the laparoscopic approach—report of a single-center experience
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Robotic surgery allows for a better visualization and more precise dissection especially in the narrow male pelvis and mid and lower third of the rectum. However, superiority to laparoscopic TME has yet to be proven. We therefore analyzed short-term outcomes of laparoscopic and robotic low anterior rectal resection for rectal cancer.
Patients and methods
From 2011 to 2016, 44 robotic (RTME) and 41 laparoscopic (LTME) low anterior rectal resection with total mesorectal excision were performed at a single institution. Specimen quality was assessed and reported by an independent pathologist following international guidelines.
The groups did not differ significantly regarding gender, age, ASA stage, BMI, and distance of the lower tumor margin from the anal verge. More patients in the RTME group underwent preoperative chemoradiation (43.2 vs. 19.5%, p = 0.019). The quality of the TME specimen was significantly better in the RTME group (complete/nearly complete/incomplete for RTME 97/0/3% and for LTME 78/17/5%, p = 0.03). The conversion rate tended to be lower in the RTME group (7 vs. 17%, p = 0.143). There was no difference in CRM positivity between the groups.
Robotic surgery is safe and can improve the quality of TME for rectal cancer compared to laparoscopy. Any effect on long-term survival remains to be established.
KeywordsRobotic TME Laparoscopic TME Rectal cancer
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