Key-Hole (Laparoscopic) Bowel Surgery
Key-Hole surgery has the benefit of reduced size of incision, leading to better cosmesis and reduced pain. This allows for earlier mobilisation with less, pain, and earlier resumption of normal activities including earlier return to work.
Figure 1. Key-hole surgery with small incisions for camera and instrument insertion, thereby avoiding a large incision
Key hole (laparoscopic) surgery has now been shown in multiple randomised controlled trials to be safe for colon cancer surgery. A large number of randomised controlled trials [1-8] and a large review, have shown similar benefits for rectal cancer surgery. Two large Australian studies have shown its safety for colorectal cancer with benefits in both young and elderly patients [10-11].
Robotic surgery is an emerging technology that combines the benefits of minimally invasive surgery with the fine-motor precision afforded only by robotics. It’s most useful application is for surgery low in the pelvis, making it particularly suitable for low rectal cancer surgery. It provides many of the benefits of laparoscopic surgery, with its improved control allowing for better resection margins and less blood loss.