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Surg Endosc. 2018 Nov;32(11):4571-4578. doi: 10.1007/s00464-018-6210-4. Epub 2018 May 16.

Robot-assisted laparoscopic resection of clinical T4b tumours of distal sigmoid and rectum: initial results.

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Department of Oncological Surgery, Amphia Hospital, Molengracht 21, 4818CK, Breda, The Netherlands.
Department of Oncological Surgery, Amphia Hospital, Molengracht 21, 4818CK, Breda, The Netherlands.



Radical resection by multivisceral resection of colorectal T4 tumours is important to reduce local recurrence and improve survival. Oncological safety of laparoscopic resection of T4 tumours is controversial. However, robot-assisted resections might have advantages, such as 3D view and greater range of motion of instruments. The aim of this study is to evaluate the initial results of robot-assisted resection of T4 rectal and distal sigmoid tumours.


This is a cohort study of a prospectively kept database of all robot-assisted rectal and sigmoid resections between 2012 and 2017. Patients who underwent a multivisceral resection for tumours appearing as T4 cancer during surgery were included. Rectal and sigmoid resections are routinely performed with the DaVinci robot, unless an indication for intra-operative radiotherapy exists.


28 patients with suspected T4 rectal or sigmoid cancer were included. Most patients (78%) were treated with neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (n = 19), short course radiotherapy with long waiting interval (n = 2) or chemotherapy (n = 1). En bloc resection was performed with the complete or part of the invaded organ (prostate, vesicles, bladder, abdominal wall, presacral fascia, vagina, uterus, adnex). In 3 patients (11%), the procedure was converted to laparotomy. Twenty-four R0-resections were performed (86%) and four R1-resections (14%). Median length of surgery was 274 min (IQR 222-354). Median length of stay was 6 days (IQR 5-11). Twelve patients (43%) had postoperative complications: eight (29%) minor complications and four (14%) major complications. There was no postoperative mortality.


Robot-assisted laparoscopy seems to be a feasible option for the resection of clinical T4 cancer of the distal sigmoid and rectum in selected cases. Radical resections can be achieved in the majority of cases. Therefore, T4 tumours should not be regarded as a strict contraindication for robot-assisted surgery.


Multivisceral resection; Rectal cancer; Robot-assisted laparoscopy; T4 tumours


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