Clinical outcomes of elective robotic vs laparoscopic surgery for colon cancer utilizing a large national database

Document Type


Publication Date



Oncology, Surgery

Journal Title

Surgical endoscopy


BACKGROUND: Prior studies have shown comparable outcomes between laparoscopic and robotic approaches across a range of surgeries; however, these have been limited in size. This study investigates differences in outcomes following robotic (RC) vs laparoscopic (LC) colectomy across several years utilizing a large national database. METHODS: We analyzed data from ACS NSQIP for patients who underwent elective minimally invasive colectomies for colon cancer from 2012 to 2020. Inverse probability weighting with regression adjustment (IPWRA) incorporating demographics, operative factors, and comorbidities was used. Outcomes included mortality, complications, return to the operating room (OR), post-operative length of stay (LOS), operative time, readmission, and anastomotic leak. Secondary analysis was performed to further assess anastomotic leak rate following right and left colectomies. RESULTS: We identified 83,841 patients who underwent elective minimally invasive colectomies: 14,122 (16.8%) RC and 69,719 (83.2%) LC. Patients who underwent RC were younger, more likely to be male, non-Hispanic White, with higher body mass index (BMI) and fewer comorbidities (for all, P < 0.05). After adjustment, there were no differences between RC and LC for 30-day mortality (0.8% vs 0.9% respectively, P = 0.457) or overall complications (16.9% vs 17.2%, P = 0.432). RC was associated with higher return to OR (5.1% vs 3.6%, P < 0.001), lower LOS (4.9 vs 5.1 days, P < 0.001), longer operative time (247 vs 184 min, P < 0.001), and higher rates of readmission (8.8% vs 7.2%, P < 0.001). Anastomotic leak rates were comparable for right-sided RC vs LC (2.1% vs 2.2%, P = 0.713), higher for left-sided LC (2.7%, P < 0.001), and highest for left-sided RC (3.4%, P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Robotic approach for elective colon cancer resection has similar outcomes to its laparoscopic counterpart. There were no differences in mortality or overall complications, however anastomotic leaks were highest after left RC. Further investigation is imperative to better understand the potential impact of technological advancement such as robotic surgery on patient outcomes.


Lucero G. Paredes- Resident