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da Vinci colorectal surgery

To find a da Vinci colorectal surgeon, call 800-777-7775 or browse da Vinci physicians.

When medication, lifestyle changes and other non-surgical treatments do not relieve symptoms, surgery is generally recommended for many colorectal conditions. While surgery is generally the most effective treatment for many colorectal conditions, traditional open surgery with a large incision has certain potential drawbacks such as a hospital stay of one week or longer, and a lengthy recovery.1,2

Today, less invasive options are available to many patients facing colorectal surgery. The most common of these is laparoscopic surgery, in which smaller incisions are used. While laparoscopy is effective for many routine procedures, it has limitations when more intricate and complex surgery is required.

Colorectal conditions

Many conditions and diseases can affect the gastrointestinal tract. Each of these conditions can cause chronic pain, as well as other disabling symptoms. When medication, lifestyle changes and other non-surgical treatments cannot relieve symptoms, surgery is the accepted treatment for a wide range of conditions.

Rectal cancer is the development of cancerous cells in the lining of the rectum (the last several inches of the large intestine closest to the anus). The stage (extent) of the cancer depends to a great degree on how deep the cancer goes into and beyond the wall of the rectum. Most rectal cancers are called adenocarcinomas.

The wall of the colon is made up of layers of tissue. Colon cancer occurs when abnormal cells form in the inner layer of this tissue. The cancer can grow through some or all of the other layers. The stage (extent) of the cancer depends to a great degree on how deep the cancer goes into these layers. Most colon cancers are called adenocarcinomas. Those are cancers that begin in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids.

Many people have small pouches in the lining of the colon or large intestine that bulge out through weak spots. Each pouch is called a diverticulum. Multiple pouches are diverticula and are most often found in the lower part of the large intestine. When the pouches become inflamed, the condition is called diverticulitis. Diverticulitis can lead to bleeding, infections, small tears (perforations), or blockages in the colon. These complications always require treatment to prevent them from progressing and causing serious illness.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers to two related but different diseases: ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. These diseases cause chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract, which lead to a variety of symptoms. The inflammation can also affect organs other than the intestines. IBD is a lifelong disease with spans of time when it is active and other times when it is under control and inactive. IBD is very common, but it has been difficult to pinpoint how many people worldwide suffer from the disease because of a lack of standardized guidelines for making a diagnosis and also misdiagnosis. Some organizations estimate that as many as five million people worldwide are living with IBD.5,6

da Vinci colorectal surgical procedures

da Vinci colorectal surgical optionsIf your doctor recommends surgery to treat a colorectal condition—such as colon cancer, rectal cancer, diverticulitis or inflammatory bowel disease—you may be a candidate for minimally-invasive da Vinci surgery. Surgical options for colorectal and benign conditions include:

  • da Vinci Low Anterior Resection, APR (rectal cancer surgery)
  • da Vinci Colectomy (surgery to remove all or part of the colon)

During rectal cancer surgery, known as low anterior resection, the surgeon removes the diseased part of the rectum without affecting the anus. The colon is then attached to the remaining part of the rectum. This allows patients to move their bowels in the usual way and avoid colostomy (portion of large intestine brought through the abdomen to carry stool out of the body) bag.

In situations where the cancer is located very low in the rectum and invades the anal muscles, an abdominoperineal resection (commonly called APR) may be required. During an APR, the entire rectum is removed. Unfortunately, this procedure will require a colostomy bag for the patient.

During surgery for colon cancer, diverticulitis or IBD, all or part of the diseased colon is removed during what is called a colectomy, colon resection or hemicolectomy. Surgery on your right colon (ascending) is called a right colectomy; surgery on your left colon (descending) is a left colectomy; and surgery on the sigmoid colon (lower left colon just before the rectum) is called a sigmoid colectomy.


da Vinci offers patients facing colon surgery (right, left or sigmoid colectomy) and rectal cancer surgery (low anterior resection and APR) such potential benefits as:

  • Excellent clinical outcomes for cancer control3
  • Quick return to bowel function2,3
  • Fast return to diet3
  • Low/less blood loss1,4
  • Short hospital stay2,4
  • Fast recovery time3

Find a surgeon

If you are a candidate for colorectal surgery, talk to a colorectal surgeon who performs da Vinci colorectal surgery.

  1. Luca F, Cenciarelli S, Valvo M, et al. Full Robotic Left Colon and Rectal Cancer Resection: Technique and Early Outcome. Annals of Surgical Oncology. May 2009, Vol. 16, No. 5: 1274-1278
  2. Spinoglio G, Summa M, Priora F, et al., Robotic Colorectal Surgery: First 50 Cases Experience; Diseases of the Colon and Rectum; DOI 10.1007/s10350-008-9334-0 Volume 51 1627-1632 (2008)
  3. Hellan M, Anderson C, Blenhom JD, Paz B, Pigazzi A. Short-Term Outcomes After Robotic-Assisted Total Mesorectal Excision for Rectal Cancer. Annals of Surgical Oncology. 200710;1245
  4. Pigazzi A, Ellenhorn JD, Ballantyne GH, Paz IB; Robotic-assisted laparoscopic resection with total mesorectal excision for rectal cancer. Surg Endosc. 2006 20; 1521-25.
  5. “Inflammatory Bowel Disease” (organization of patient-led groups from around the world). Available from:
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Available from:

While clinical studies support the effectiveness of the da Vinci® System when used in minimally invasive surgery, individual results may vary. Surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System may not be appropriate for every individual. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits.

For additional information on minimally invasive surgery with the da Vinci®Surgical System visit

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