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Ask the Doctor: Babak Rad, M.D.

Q. What are the benefits of robotic-assisted colorectal surgery?

A. Robotic-assisted colorectal surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that can be a beneficial option for patients compared to traditional surgery.

With traditional colon surgery, larger abdominal (tummy) incisions are required which means more pain and a longer recovery. However, with robotic-assisted surgery at Hoag, a surgeon has improved 3D visualization and maneuverability due to the uniqueness of the da Vinci® technology. This not only makes it easier for a surgeon to perform life-saving surgeries for colorectal cancer and non-cancer conditions, but it also allows for smaller incisions which can shorten the patient’s recovery time. The improved visualization allows for more precise dissection of the tissue and less blood loss. Robotic surgery is particularly beneficial for rectal cancer as the robot allows for a finer dissection of the rectum compared to traditional surgery. This helps the surgeon reduce complications and minimize trauma to important nerves that may impact a patient’s urinary and sexual function.

It’s important to note that not every patient is a candidate for minimally invasive robotic surgery. If you are in need of colorectal surgery, please discuss your treatment options with your physician.

Babak Rad, M.D., is the program advisor for the Hoag Colorectal Cancer Program.