Long-term outcomes of robotic versus laparoscopic total mesorectal excisions: a propensity-score matched cohort study of 5-year survival outcomes

Rauand Duhoky, Marieke Rutgers, Thijs Burghgraef, Samuel Stefan, Shamsul Kabir Masum, Guglielmo Niccolo Piozzi, Filippos Sagias, Jim Khan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Objective: To compare long-term outcomes between laparoscopic and robotic total mesorectal excisions (TMEs) for rectal cancer in a tertiary center.

Background: Laparoscopic rectal cancer surgery has comparable long-term outcomes to the open approach, with several advantages in short-term outcomes. However, it has significant technical limitations, which the robotic approach aims to overcome.

Methods: We included patients undergoing laparoscopic and robotic TME surgery between 2013 and 2021. The groups were compared after propensity-score matching. The primary outcome was 5-year overall survival (OS). Secondary outcomes were local recurrence (LR), distant recurrence (DR), disease-free survival (DFS), and short-term surgical and patient-related outcomes.

Results: A total of 594 patients were included, and after propensity-score matching 215 patients remained in each group. There was a significant difference in 5-year OS (72.4% for laparoscopy vs 81.7% for robotic, P = 0.029), but no difference in 5-year LR (4.7% vs 5.2%, P = 0.850), DR (16.9% vs 13.5%, P = 0.390), or DFS (63.9% vs 74.4%, P = 0.086). The robotic group had significantly less conversion (3.7% vs 0.5%, P = 0.046), shorter length of stay [7.0 (6.0–13.0) vs 6.0 (4.0–8.0), P < 0.001), and less postoperative complications (63.5% vs 50.7%, P = 0.010).

Conclusions: This study shows a correlation between higher 5-year OS and comparable long-term oncological outcomes for robotic TME surgery compared to the laparoscopic approach. Furthermore, lower conversion rates, a shorter length of stay, and a less minor postoperative complications were observed. Robotic rectal cancer surgery is a safe and favorable alternative to the traditional approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere404
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Surgery Open
Issue number2
Early online date27 Mar 2024
Publication statusEarly online - 27 Mar 2024


  • laparoscopy
  • long-term outcomes
  • rectal cancer
  • robotic
  • total mesorectal excision

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