Robotic-Assisted Surgery for Colon and Rectal Diseases


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  • What is Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Surgery?
    Robotic-assisted surgery is the latest breakthrough in minimally invasive surgery for colon and rectal diseases. Until recently, patients have had the option of traditional or laparoscopic surgery for simple procedures. Now with the advances made possible by Robotic-assisted surgery, patients have all the advantages of minimally invasive surgery with the addition of modern technology.

    What is a Surgical Robotic System?
    The surgical robotic system is made up of a work unit and console linked to a computer-based interface. The robotic system work unit has one camera arm and three surgical arms that connect to the patient. The surgeon sits and operates at the console. Each surgical arm is fitted with specialized instruments and, along with the camera arm, docks into the surgical field.

    With the tiny robotic hands and 10x high-definition magnification, surgeons are able to do incredibly delicate and complicated procedures in a very confined space of the pelvis, The surgeon, aided by this computerized system, is able to perform a more precise surgery, with many patient benefits.

    What types of colon and rectal problems are treated with this type of surgery?
    The small, narrow pelvis houses blood vessels and nerves that surgeons must preserve to protect a patient’s quality of life. Surgeons use the robotic system to treat diseases and cancers found in these narrow constraints of the pelvis, including rectal and anal cancers as well as diverticulitis.

    How does this benefit the patient?
    Patients benefit from a much smaller surgical incision, usually only 1 1/2 centimeters, which leads to less pain and a shorter recovery time. Most common patient benefits include:

    • Significantly less pain during recovery
    • Less blood loss during surgery
    • Less complications during surgery
    • Less scarring after surgery
    • Shorter hospital stay
    • A quicker return to work and daily activities
    • Often, better clinical outcomes
    • Preserves sexual function
    • Preserves bladder control
    • Higher quality of life after surgery

    Why is it being used for colon and rectal problems?
    The surgeon has a better view of the pelvic area and can spot diseased areas much more precisely. Robotic-assisted surgery allows the surgeon to keep more of the colon intact, reducing the need for a colostomy. When procedures are performed in this minimally invasive fashion, many patients are able to avoid the need for a colostomy and the chances are much higher that sexual function and bladder control will be preserved, greatly improving the patient’s quality of life.

    Is the robotic system proven?
    In 1995, a team of Johns Hopkins University researchers developed a prototype robotic-assisted laparoscopic system and performed the first robotic cholecystectomy (gallbladder surgery) a few years later. Additionally, in 2000 there were 1,500 robotic prostate procedures reported; in 2008, more than 80,000 cases were reported.

    Is the system FDA approved?
    Yes, today, the only FDA-approved robotic system is the da Vinci Surgical System, manufactured by Intuitive Surgical.

    Is the surgeon experienced?
    Yes, Dr. Eric Haas performed the first Robotic-Assisted surgery for colon and rectal cancer in Houston at the Texas Medical Center. Dr. Haas is one of a handful of surgeons worldwide who are using robotic surgery for treatment of colorectal cancers and diseases. He leads a research program to optimize the procedure, which is new in the area of colon and rectal cancer. Dr. Haas is board certified by both the American Board of Surgery and by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery. He is recognized nationally as an expert in advanced laparoscopic surgery for the treatment of colon cancer as well as benign diseases such as diverticulitis, polyps, inflammatory bowel disease and rectal prolapse.

    How do I know if this surgery is right for me?
    You should discuss treatment options with your physician.

    Colorectal Surgical Associates
    Specializing in minimally invasive procedures for colorectal disease.
    Dr. Eric Haas
    Located in The Texas Medical Center
    Houston, Texas

    Schedule a Consultation at Colorectal Surgical Associates

    For more information, or to schedule a consultation, please contact Colorectal Surgical Associates today.