Background: The aim of this study is to compare the short-term results between robotic-assisted low anterior resection (R-LAR), using the da Vinci Surgical System, and standard laparoscopic low anterior resection (L-LAR) in rectal cancer patients.
Methods: 113 patients were assigned to receive either R-LAR (n = 56) or L-LAR (n = 57) between April 2006 and September 2007. Patient characteristics, perioperative clinical results, complications, and pathologic details were compared between the groups. Moreover, macroscopic grading of the specimen was evaluated.
Results: Patient characteristics were not significantly different between the groups. The mean operation time was 190.1 +/- 45.0 min in the R-LAR group and 191.1 +/- 65.3 min in the L-LAR group (P = 0.924). The conversion rate was 0.0% in the R-LAR groups and 10.5% in the L-LAR group (P = 0.013). The serious complication rate was 5.4% in the R-LAR group and 19.3% in the L-LAR group (P = 0.025). The specimen quality was acceptable in both groups. However, the mesorectal grade was complete (n = 52) and nearly complete (n = 4) in the R-LAR group and complete (n = 43), nearly complete (n = 12), and incomplete (n = 2) in the L-LAR group (P = 0.033).
Conclusion: R-LAR was performed safely and effectively, using the da Vinci Surgical System. The use of the system resulted in acceptable perioperative outcomes compared to L-LAR.