Robotic colon and rectal surgery is a form of minimally invasive surgery using small incisions. It has advantages over other minimally invasive approaches due to increased dexterity and precision, advanced technology, and superior visualization through 3-D magnification for the operating surgeon. The surgeon is able to operate in tight spaces, perform intracorporeal anastomoses (suturing internally to connect the bowel), which ensures blood flow to the colon or rectum.
Our robotic colorectal surgeon, Dr. Melissa M. Alvarez-Downing, is board-certified in both general and colorectal surgery and specializes in utilizing the advanced robotic surgical techniques to treat conditions of the colon, rectum and small bowel. These advanced techniques combined with an Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) program, allows patients to undergo safe surgery with decreased pain, shorter recovery and excellent outcomes.
Every patient will undergo a thorough and individualized pre-operative assessment to determine if robotic surgery is appropriate, including many patients who have previously had traditional ‘open’ surgery. With our expertise, the vast majority of our patients are deemed safe candidates for robotic surgery. Additionally, patients who undergo colon or rectal robotic surgery for cancer receive the highest level of coordinated care through the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, a NCI Designated Cancer Center, at University Hospital.
Robotic procedures performed include:
- Colectomy (Right, Left, Sigmoid, Subtotal, Total, Rectum): Benign Polyps, Cancer, Diverticulitis, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Colitis, Colonic Fistula, Colonic Inertia, Constipation, Colitis, Stricture, Endometriosis, Carcinoid Tumor, Anastomotic Revision, etc.
- Proctectomy (Rectal surgery): Cancer, Rectal Fistula, Rectal Prolapse, Pelvic Floor Disorders, Carcinoid Tumor, Endometriosis, Stenosis, Anastomotic Revision
- J-pouch surgery (IPAA) or Pouchectomy
- Ileostomy (Creation or Reversal)
- Colostomy (Creation or Reversal)
- Small Bowel Resection: Crohn’s Disease, Stenosis, other small bowel diseases
- Multi-visceral Surgery (multiple organ system) as part of combined surgery with Urology or Gynecology