Aim Robotic colorectal surgery is an emerging field and may offer a solution to some of the difficulties inherent to conventional laparoscopic surgery. The aim of this review is to provide a comprehensive and critical analysis of the available literature on the use of robotic technology in colorectal surgery.
Method Studies reporting outcomes of robotic colorectal surgery were identified by systematic searches of electronic databases. Outcomes examined included operating time, length of stay, blood loss, complications, cost, oncological outcome, and conversion rates.
Results Seventeen Studies (nine case series, seven comparative studies, one randomized controlled trial) describing 288 procedures were identified and reviewed. Study heterogeneity precluded a meta-analysis of the data. Robotic procedures tend to take longer and cost more, but may reduce the length of stay, blood loss, and conversion rates. Complication profiles and short-term oncological outcomes are similar to laparoscopic surgery.
Conclusion Robotic colorectal surgery is a promising field and may provide a powerful additional tool for optimal management of more challenging pathology, including rectal cancer. Further studies are required to better define its role.