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Traditional vs. Robotic Low Anterior Resection Surgery

Surgery is a common form of treatment for small intestine cancer. If surgery is recommended, the most appropriate type of procedure is determined based on a number of patient-specific factors, including the location and stage of the cancer and the patient’s preferences. If the cancer has spread into the lower section of the rectum, a low anterior resection procedure may be necessary.

Low anterior resection surgery involves the removal of the cancerous portion of the rectum, after which a surgeon can rejoin the remaining portion to the colon in order to allow for normal bowel movements. The reconnection site is called an anastomosis. Alternatively, some patients require an ileostomy procedure, in which a surgeon creates a small opening in the abdominal wall to allow waste to exit the body and flow into a pouch that is attached to the skin.

The two main surgical techniques that can be used to perform low anterior resection surgery are:

  • Traditional or open surgery – A surgeon creates a single, long incision in the abdomen to access the surgical site.
  • Minimally invasive surgery – A surgeon makes several small incisions in the abdomen, then inserts a tiny video camera and specialized surgical instruments to carry out the procedure.

When performing minimally invasive low anterior resection surgery, the fellowship-trained surgeons in the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center often use robotic assistance from the advanced da Vinci® Surgical System, which allows for heightened precision and control. As a result, robotic low anterior resection surgery can provide several benefits over a traditional surgical approach. These include a lower risk of complications, less scarring, a faster recovery and a better post-operative quality of life.

The da Vinci System incorporates technology that is truly state of the art. However, it is the skill of the surgeon who uses this technology that can make a true difference in a patient’s outcome. Consider that Moffitt is a high-volume cancer center, and our surgeons perform robotic procedures on a regular basis. As a result, they have acquired extensive experience with the da Vinci System, as well as in-depth knowledge about the most effective ways to use it.

If you’d like to learn more about traditional and robotic low anterior resection surgery for small intestine cancer treatment, call Moffitt Cancer Center at 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online. We accept patients with and without referrals.