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Open versus robot-assisted sphincter-saving operations in rectal cancer patients: techniques and comparison of outcomes between groups of 100 matched patients

Authors

  • Jin C. Kim,

    Corresponding author
    • Medical Faculties and Associates, Department of Surgery, University of Ulsan College of Medicine and Institute of Innovative Cancer Research, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea
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  • Sung S. Yang,

    1. Medical Faculties and Associates, Department of Surgery, University of Ulsan College of Medicine and Institute of Innovative Cancer Research, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea
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  • Tae Y. Jang,

    1. Medical Faculties and Associates, Department of Surgery, University of Ulsan College of Medicine and Institute of Innovative Cancer Research, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea
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  • Jae Y. Kwak,

    1. Medical Faculties and Associates, Department of Surgery, University of Ulsan College of Medicine and Institute of Innovative Cancer Research, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea
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  • Myung J. Yun,

    1. Medical Faculties and Associates, Department of Surgery, University of Ulsan College of Medicine and Institute of Innovative Cancer Research, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea
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  • Seok B. Lim

    1. Medical Faculties and Associates, Department of Surgery, University of Ulsan College of Medicine and Institute of Innovative Cancer Research, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea
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Jin C. Kim, Department of Surgery, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, and Institute of Innovative Cancer Research, Asan Medical Center, 86 Asanbyeongwon-gil, Songpa-gu, Seoul 138–736. E-mail: jckim@amc.seoul.kr

Abstract

Background

Although open resection using a sphincter-saving operation (SSO) remains the standard of care for rectal cancer, few studies have compared open and robot-assisted (RA) SSOs. This study aimed to compare the operative features, functional outcomes, and oncological validity of open and RA SSO for rectal cancer.

Methods

A total of 200 rectal cancer patients undergoing curative SSO were enrolled prospectively. The open and RA groups (n = 100, respectively) were matched for clinical stage and operation type.

Results

The mean operation time was significantly longer in the RA group than in the open group (188 vs. 103 min, P < 0.001), but it was significantly reduced in the latter half of the RA patients compared with that in the first half (164 vs. 214 min, P < 0.001). The mean distal resection margin was significantly longer in the RA than in the open group (2.7 vs. 1.9 cm; P = 0.001), but only one patient in either group had positive circumferential resection margin. Bowel peristalsis returned one day earlier in the RA than in the open group (P < 0.001). Postoperative complication rates and anorectal functional outcomes were comparable between the two groups. The operator's physical discomfort, assessed on a visual analog scale, was significantly lower in the RA than in the open group (P < 0.001).

Conclusions

According to this short-term study, the RA SSO showed equivalent oncological safety, functional outcome, and morbidities to open SSO. Although the operation takes longer, the robotic system enables a technically versatile SSO with fine dissection in a limited surgical field. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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