Robotic-assisted surgery is another breakthrough in minimally invasive surgery for colon and rectal diseases. Until recently, patients have had the option of traditional or laparoscopic surgery. 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 has one camera arm and three surgical arms that connect to the patient through tiny incisions. The surgeon operates the robotic arms. With the specialized robotic instruments and high-definition magnified camera, the surgeon is able to do incredibly delicate and complicated procedures in a very precise and safe fashion.
What types of colon and rectal problems are treated with this type of surgery?
We perform all surgery with minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. We typically prefer robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery for more complex procedures that require precise technique such as rectal cancer, diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. During our consultation we will discuss which type of minimally invasive approach is recommended for your specific situation.
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. The benefits are the same as laparoscopic surgery and when compared to open traditional surgery, the 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
Why is it being used for colon and rectal problems?
Our surgeons will meet with you to determine if this type of surgery is best for you.
Robotic-assisted surgery is particularly beneficial for procedures that require access to areas of the body such as the pelvis. This approach allows us to almost always avoid the need for a permanent colostomy.
Is the surgeon experienced?
Yes, Dr. Eric Haas is one of the pioneers of minimally invasive robotic surgery in the United States. He performed the first Robotic-Assisted surgery for colon and rectal cancer in Houston at the Texas Medical Center in 2009 and since has developed many techniques and advancements in this technology. He has become a world leader in this approach and has published numerous surgical journal article and book chapters.
What to ask your surgeon about surgery
We offer minimally invasive surgery to over 95% of our patients. Depending on your specific presentation and medical history, you will offered either robotic or laparoscopic surgery. Even if you have had prior open surgery, we are almost always able to complete your surgery safely and effectively with robotic or laparoscopic surgery. Since we are one of the most experienced groups in this field, we have the expertise to proceed with minimally invasive surgery and accomplish the procedure safely and with the best outcomes regardless of your condition and past history.
It is very important to ask your surgeon how often they perform robotic and minimally invasive surgery and to understand your surgeon’s outcomes and expertise. Dr. Haas and his team of expert surgeons have been leading the way in robotic colorectal surgery and are among the few nationally who have performed robotic surgery for over 10 years. In fact, Dr. Haas actively trains surgeons from around the world in this technology and approach. His team has published countless articles and reports advancing robotic surgery in his filed.
During our consultation we will meet and discuss the possible risks of the procedure depending on the specific type of surgery you are having as well as your medical history. Regardless of your situation, It has been shown that performing minimally invasive surgery significantly lowers the risk of complications following surgery including lower risk of blood loss and lower infection rate.
This depends on the expertise of your surgeon. Nationwide, the conversion rate has been reported as high as 20% (that is, the surgeon begins the procedure laparoscopically, but then has to convert to an open incision across the belly in 1 in 5 patients). The good news is that our expert surgeons have a conversion rate of 1% (that is, only 1 patient out of every 100 requires conversion to an open procedure).
Many of our patients who come to us for surgery are very concerned that they will need a colostomy or ileostomy bag (also known as an ostomy or stoma). The good news is that it is very rare that we need to perform a permanent colostomy. In fact, we are well known for putting colostomy bags back together in patients who have received them form other institutions or hospitals following emergency procedures.