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About da Vinci ®

Colon Resection Surgery

Learn about colectomy surgery and understand your options

There’s more than hope when you know the facts

Your large intestine, which includes the colon, rectum and anal canal, plays a vital role in keeping you healthy by absorbing water and minerals and eliminating food waste. Because of the role it plays in digestion, conditions that affect the large intestine can be life-threatening. Even less dangerous colon conditions can reduce your quality of life and harm your overall health. 

Common conditions of the colon that bring people in for medical care include cancer. Colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the U.S. each year, with more than 100,000 new cases expected in 2019.1 Other potentially serious conditions affecting the colon include inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis (small pouches that become inflamed or infected), and bowel blockages.

Understanding your options

There are several options for managing some noncancerous colon conditions, including medications and changes to your diet and lifestyle.2-4 If these options fail to relieve symptoms, your doctor may suggest surgery. 

If you have been diagnosed with colon cancer your doctor may recommend chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery to remove the affected colon and nearby lymph nodes, or a combination of these options depending on the type of cancer and how far it has advanced.5

Surgeons can remove the diseased section of the colon, along with nearby lymph nodes, with a procedure called a colectomy. After the surgeon has removed the diseased section of your colon, he or she may then reattach the two healthy parts of the intestine, performing what is known as an anastomosis. This part of the operation can either be done completely inside the body (known as an intracorporeal anastomosis) or outside of the body (known as an extracorporeal anastomosis).

The surgeon can perform a colectomy through open surgery or a minimally invasive approach. Traditional open surgery requires the surgeon to make an incision in your abdomen large enough to see the colon and perform the procedure using hand-held tools.

There are two minimally invasive approaches for colectomy: laparoscopic or robotic-assisted surgery, possibly with da Vinci technology. Both minimally invasive surgical options require a few small incisions that doctors use to insert surgical equipment and a camera for viewing. In laparoscopic surgery, doctors use special long-handled tools to perform surgery while viewing magnified images from the laparoscope (camera) on a video screen.


How da Vinci works

Surgeons using da Vinci technology may be able to remove part or all of your colon through a few small incisions (cuts). During surgery, your surgeon sits at a console next to you and operates using tiny, wristed instruments. The da Vinci system translates every hand movement your surgeon makes in real time to bend and rotate the instruments with precision. 

A camera provides a high-definition, 3D magnified view inside your body. Your surgeon may use Firefly® fluorescence imaging, which offers visualization beyond the human eye by activating injected dye to light up and clearly show the blood flow to the colon. This may help your surgeon during the procedure.


It’s important to remember that Intuitive does not provide medical advice. After discussing all options with your doctor, only you and your doctor can determine whether surgery with da Vinci is appropriate for your situation. You should always ask your surgeon about his or her training, experience, and patient outcomes.

More About Da Vinci

Why surgery with da Vinci?

A review of published studies suggest that potential benefits of a colectomy with da Vinci technology include:

  • Patients may experience fewer complications compared to patients who had open6,7 and laparoscopic8-11 surgery.
  • Patients may stay in the hospital for a shorter amount of time than patients who had open6,12 or laparoscopic6,8-10,13,14 surgery.
  • Surgeons may be less likely to switch to an open procedure when performing surgery with da Vinci, compared to a laparoscopic surgery.6-8

All surgery involves risk. You can read more about associated risks of colectomy here.

Questions you can ask your doctor

  • What medical and surgical options are available for me?
  • Which is best for my situation?
  • What are the differences between open, laparoscopic, and robotic-assisted surgery?
  • If you suggest I have colon surgery, how can I prepare for it?
  • Can you tell me about your training, experience, and patient outcomes with da Vinci?

Resources for learning more

Colorectal surgery brochure

Take away information about colorectal surgery with da Vinci technology in our brochure designed for patients and their families.

About your options

Colorectal surgery with da Vinci 

Robotic-assisted surgery with da Vinci technology is used in many different types of procedures by colorectal surgeons.

About the specialty


1. Key Statistics for Colorectal Cancer. American Cancer Society. Web. 23 January 2019 

2. Crohn’s Disease. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. Web. 24 January 2019 

3. Ulcerative Colitis. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. Web. 24 January 2019 

4. Diverticular Disease. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. Web. 24 January 2019 

5. Treating Colorectal Cancer. American Cancer Society. Web. 24 January 2019 

6. Benlice C, Aytac E, Costedio M, Kessler H, Abbas M, Remzi F, Gorgun E. Robotic, laparoscopic, and open colectomy: a case‐matched comparison from the ACS‐NSQIP. Int J Med Robot. 2017 Sep;13(3). doi: 10.1002/rcs.1783. 

7. Moghadamyeghaneh Z, Hanna MH, Carmichael JC, Pigazzi A, Stamos MJ, Mills S. Comparison of open, laparoscopic, and robotic approaches for total abdominal colectomy. Surg Endosc. 2016 Jul;30(7):2792-8. doi: 10.1007/s00464-015-4552-8.

8. Chang Y, Wang J, Chang D. A meta-analysis of robotic versus laparoscopic colectomy. Journal of Surgical Research. 2015;195(2):465-474. doi:10.1016/j.jss.2015.01.026.

9. Altieri M, Yang J, Telem D et al. Robotic approaches may offer benefit in colorectal procedures, more controversial in other areas: a review of 168,248 cases. Surgical Endoscopy. 2015;30(3):925-933. doi:10.1007/s00464-015-4327-2.

10. Trastulli S, Cirocchi R, Desiderio J, Coratti A, Guarino S, Renzi C, Corsi A, Boselli C, Santoro A, Minelli L, Parisi A. Robotic versus Laparoscopic Approach in Colonic Resections for Cancer and Benign Diseases: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLoS One. 2015 Jul 27;10(7):e0134062. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134062.

11. Wang W, Xu H, Li Z, Sun Y, Xu Z. Meta-analysis comparing robotic right colectomy with laparoscopic right colectomy on clinical short-term outcomes. Zhonghua Wei Chang Wai Ke Za Zhi. 2015 May;18(5):463-8.

12. Luca F, Ghezzi TL, Valvo M, Cenciarelli S, Pozzi S, Radice D, Crosta C, Biffi R. Surgical and pathological outcomes after right hemicolectomy: case-matched study comparing robotic and open surgery. Int J Med Robot. 2011 Sep;7(3):298-303. doi: 10.1002/rcs.398.

13. Lim S, Kim JH, Baek SJ, Kim SH, Lee SH. Comparison of perioperative and short-term outcomes between robotic and conventional laparoscopic surgery for colonic cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Ann Surg Treat Res. 2016 Jun;90(6):328-39. doi: 10.4174/astr.2016.90.6.328.

14. Al-Mazrou AM, Chiuzan C, Kiran RP. The robotic approach significantly reduces length of stay after colectomy: a propensity score-matched analysis. Int J Colorectal Dis. 2017 Oct;32(10):1415-1421. doi: 10.1007/s00384-017-2845-1.

Disclosures and Important Safety Information

Surgical Risks

Risks associated with bowel resection and other colorectal procedures (removal of all/part of the intestine) include leaking and/or narrowing at the spot where two sections of bowel were reconnected, colorectal or anal dysfunction (cannot empty bowel, frequent bowel movements, leakage or constipation).

Important Safety Information

Patients should talk to their doctor to decide if da Vinci® Surgery is right for them. Patients and doctors should review all available information on non-surgical and surgical options and associated risks in order to make an informed decision. 

Serious complications may occur in any surgery, including da Vinci Surgery, up to and including death. Serious risks include, but are not limited to, injury to tissues and organs and conversion to other surgical techniques which could result in a longer operative time and/or increased complications. For Important Safety Information, including surgical risks, indications, and considerations and contraindications for use, please also refer to www.intuitive.com/safety

Individuals' outcomes may depend on a number of factors, including but not limited to patient characteristics, disease characteristics and/or surgeon experience.

da Vinci Xi® System Precaution Statement

The demonstration of safety and effectiveness for the specific procedure(s) discussed in this material was based on evaluation of the device as a surgical tool and did not include evaluation of outcomes related to the treatment of cancer (overall survival, disease-free survival, local recurrence) or treatment of the patient’s underlying disease/condition. Device usage in all surgical procedures should be guided by the clinical judgment of an adequately trained surgeon.

Medical Advice and Locating a Doctor

Patients should talk to their doctor to decide if da Vinci Surgery is right for them. Other options may be available and appropriate. Only a doctor can determine whether da Vinci Surgery is appropriate for a patient’s situation. Patients and doctors should review all available information on both non-surgical and surgical options in order to make an informed decision.

Surgeons experienced with the da Vinci System can be found using the Surgeon Locator. Intuitive Surgical provides surgeons training on the use of the da Vinci System but does not certify, credential or qualify the surgeons listed in the Surgeon Locator.

Published Evidence

In order to provide benefit and risk information, Intuitive Surgical reviews the highest available level of evidence on procedures named above. Intuitive Surgical strives to provide a complete, fair and balanced view of the clinical literature. However, our materials should not be seen as a substitute for a comprehensive literature review for inclusion of all potential outcomes. We encourage patients and physicians to review the original publications and all available literature in order to make an informed decision. Clinical studies are typically available at pubmed.gov.

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da Vinci Surgical System

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