Traditional vs. Robotic Abdominoperineal Resection Surgery

Abdominoperineal resection surgery is a surgical procedure that may be recommended to treat small intestine cancer that has spread to the rectum. In general, this procedure involves the removal of the rectum, anus and varying amounts of the lower part of the colon (sigmoid colon) depending upon the extent of the cancer. Because the rectum and anus will be permanently removed, the surgeon will also create a new exit point for stool called a stoma. This procedure, which is known as a colostomy, involves bringing the lower end of the colon through the abdominal wall, where a pouch for collecting waste can be attached to the skin.

Depending on a patient’s needs and preferences, abdominoperineal resection surgery can be performed with different techniques. These include:

  • Traditional (open) surgery – A surgeon will make one long incision in the abdomen to access the surgical site.
  • Minimally invasive (laparoscopic) surgery – A surgeon will create several small incisions in the abdomen, then insert a tiny camera and specialized surgical tools to complete the procedure.

Regardless of the technique used, a surgeon will also make one incision in the perineal area, which is the area in between the vagina and anus in women and the scrotum and anus in men.

At Moffitt Cancer Center, the fellowship-trained surgeons in our Gastrointestinal Oncology Program often perform minimally invasive abdominoperineal resection surgery with the assistance of the da Vinci® Surgical System. Powered by advanced robotic technology, the da Vinci System provides a surgeon with a three-dimensional, high-definition view of the surgical site, as well as tiny wristed instruments that are capable of bending and rotating much farther than the human hand. These innovative features can significantly enhance a surgeon’s vision, precision and control, leading to better outcomes and quality of life for our patients.

Of course, when performing robot-assisted abdominoperineal resection surgery, the surgeon remains in complete control of the da Vinci System at all times. In fact, it is the skill of the surgeon who controls the da Vinci System that can make a true difference in the surgical outcome. Consider that Moffitt is a high-volume cancer center, and that our multispecialty team frequently treats patients with small intestine cancer. As a result, our surgeons have acquired extensive experience and highly refined skills in performing robotic abdominoperineal resection surgery.

If you have general questions about the da Vinci System or specific questions about robotic abdominoperineal resection surgery versus traditional surgery for treating small intestine cancer, you can speak with an expert in the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center. Call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online. We do not require referrals.