Surgical techniques have evolved over the past few decades, and minimally invasive surgery has been rapidly adapted to become a preferred operative approach for treating colorectal diseases. However, many of the procedures remain a technical challenge for surgeons to perform laparoscopically, which has prompted the development of robotic platforms. Robotic surgery has been introduced as the latest advance in minimally invasive surgery. The present article provides an overview of robotic rectal surgery and describes many advances that have been made in the field over the past two decades. More specifically, the introduction of the robotic platform and its benefits, and the limitations of current robotic technology, are discussed. Although the main advantages of robotic surgery over conventional laparoscopy appear to be lower conversion rates and better surgical specimen quality, oncological and functional outcomes appear to be similar to those of other alternatives. Other potential benefits include earlier recovery of voiding and sexual function after robotic total mesorectal excision. Nevertheless, the costs and lack of haptic feedback remain the primary limitations to the widespread use of robotic technology in the field.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This review was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China NSFC (No. 81274148) and Beijing Municipal Health System Special Funds of High-Level Medical Personnel Construction (No. 2014-3-063).
© 2020, Indian Association of Surgical Oncology.
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