Like many fields of healthcare, colon surgery has seen key transformations in recent years. One of the most important movements has been away from open surgery and towards laparoscopic surgery.

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Minimally invasive techniques have become the preferred surgical method for many surgeons. They often opt to enter the patient’s body through natural orifices and make small incisions. This quickens the patient’s recovery time because the surgeon doesn’t have to cut through as much muscle and tissue. This technique also reduces scarring.

Colon Surgery

One example of minimally invasive surgery in the field is surgery for colorectal cancer. Instead of open surgery, surgeons now use an advanced form of laparoscopy and new techniques. This improves short term recovery. Patients do not need to stay in the hospital as long, suffer from less blood loss, less pain, and fewer wound complications. This new method has become the standard worldwide.

Surgeons also use minimally invasive techniques during robotic suture rectopexy for rectal prolapse, or during transanal endoscopic microsurgery to remove local rectal lesions.

Current Robotic Systems

Although laparoscopic surgery is normally a superior option to open surgery, the method still has its shortcomings. Its limitations include loss of binocular vision, exaggerated movements, and difficulty moving surgical instruments. The da Vinci robotic system was developed to overcome these drawbacks. The device features 3D imaging, improved ergonomics, and helps alleviate any hand tremors.

Future Advances

Not even the da Vinci system is perfect, however. The system lacks tactile feedback for the surgeon. This can lead to unexpected injuries and damage to tissue. As a result, professionals have developed several prototypes in an attempt to resolve these issues. These include the Telelap ALF-X system and the VerroTouch system. The ALF-X platform provides force feedback to the surgeon. The platform also offers improved ergonomics and a zooming system that the surgeon controls with the movement of their head.

The VerroTouch system adds new abilities to the current da Vinci platform, such as haptic feedback through the measurement of significant vibrations detected during the surgery.

Conclusion

Recent advances have changed the way that colorectal surgery is performed. Minimally invasive techniques are the new standard. Although the current robotic systems are helpful, there is still room for improvement, and new systems are being developed to combat current challenges.