A comparative analysis of outcomes of open, laparoscopic, and robotic elective (procto-) colectomies for benign and malignant disease

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2 Scopus citations


Laparoscopy has emerged as a common alternative to the open approach for colorectal operations. Robotic surgery has many advantages, but cost and outcomes are an area of study. There are no randomized-controlled trials of all techniques. The present study evaluated a cohort of veterans undergoing (procto-) colectomy for benign or malignant colorectal disease. This is a single-institution retrospective review. We compared open, laparoscopic, and robotic colectomies. The primary outcome was 30-day mortality. The secondary endpoints included morbidity, operative times, estimated blood loss (EBL), length of stay (LOS), conversion rate, and the learning curve (LC). Subgroup analyses were undertaken for: (1) right hemicolectomies (RHC) and (2) by specific surgeons most familiar with each approach. The cohort included 390 patients (men = 95%, White = 70.8%, BMI = 29.3 ± 6.4 kg/m2, age = 63.7 ± 10.2 years) undergoing (open = 117, laparoscopic = 168, and robotic = 105), colorectal operations for colorectal adenocarcinoma (52.8%) and benign disease. Thirty-day morbidity was similar across all techniques (open = 46.2%, laparoscopic = 42.9%, and robotic = 38.1%; NS). EBL and LOS were decreased with minimally invasive techniques compared to open. Operative time was longer in robotic, but equalized to laparoscopic after 90 cases. The learning curve was reduced to 20 when performed by the surgeon most familiar with the robot. EBL and operative time independently predicted complications for the entire cohort. The best technique for colorectal operations rests on the surgeon’s experience, but minimally invasive techniques are gaining momentum over open colectomies. Robotic colectomy is emerging as a non-inferior approach to laparoscopy in terms of outcomes, while maintaining all its technical advantages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-62
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Robotic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • APR
  • Colon cancer
  • IBD
  • LAR
  • Procto-colectomy
  • Total abdominal colectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Health Informatics


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