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Thread: Anyone had Robotic Minimally Invasive surgery for Colorectal cancer

  1. #1
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    Anyone had Robotic Minimally Invasive surgery for Colorectal cancer

    Hi,
    I'm wondering if anyone has had any experience with Robotic Laparoscopic Minimally invasive surgery to remove part of the colon?

    I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in Feb 2011, did 6 weeks of daily radiation and continual 5FU infusion with power port and pump.

    I just had my follow up with my surgeon following the treatment in order to discuss surgery at which time I questioned a laparoscopic procedure, he went into the details of why I typical laparoscopic surgery wouldn't work in the colon/rectal area but mentioned that a new Robotic procedure would be an option.
    This would but my recovery time nearly in half and almost eliminate alot of the other complications and concerns I had with the typical surgery.

    I'm looking for info/comments/recommendations from anyone who has had the procedure done as a robotic laparoscopic surgery.

    thanks in advance for your time and help.
    Amanda

  2. #2
    Senior User swisecar's Avatar
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    Any idea what stage you are? Here's the thing, without open surgery and visualization of your abdominal cavity, the surgeon could more easily miss a stray tumor. Another issue could be availability of the equipment. That's the very short answer. The better answer is to ask for a referral for a second opinion. Even if you go with traditional open surgery, you want an EXCELLENT surgeon. If you don't already . . bring a pad of paper with your questions already written with space to jot answers.

    I had traditional open emergency surgery. I got lucky with my surgeon. He is the guy in my region for colon surgery. He did his fellowship at Sloan-Kettering. The recovery was difficult. If I had been given a choice before the surgery, then I still would have chosen him to be my surgeon. I would have WANTED laparoscopic surgery, but I would have done whatever he recommended because he is trained as a surgeon and I am not.

    I trust the opinion of my current doctors (though not the opinions of all doctors), but I still like things to be explained to me. My question with a new/newer procedure is always "am I the guinea pig," and what risks am I trading?

    I wish you all the best in your difficult decision.

    Sarah
    May 1988 acute lymphoblastic leukemia (2 yrs chemo & radiation)
    Sept 2009 papillary thyroid cancer (thyroid removal & radioactive iodine)
    Sept 2009 colon cancer stage IIIC (removal of sigmoid colon & resection)
    Oct 2009-May 2010 FOLFOX6
    July 2010 stage IV colon cancer, irinotecan & avastin
    Dec 2010-July 2011 avastin maintenance
    Sept 2011 tumor removal involving small bowel resections
    Nov 2011-April 2012 resume irinotecan
    May 29 2012 begin radiation treatments 15 total
    current age: 28

  3. #3
    Top User DulcimerGal's Avatar
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    Hey, sorry I can't be of much help...in all my years on this forum I don't recall anyone here actually having this type of surgery. I know I asked my Doc about it too...but he was adamant about actually seeing the condition of my organs - plus he wanted to be very careful since my tumor was close to the sphincter muscle.

    I sure don't blame you for trying to find out more though, so keep researching and keep posting!

    Cheers
    DulcimerGal
    Rectal Cancer diagnosed Valentines Day 2008 - stage 3
    Finished 6 weeks of radiation and chemo 4/23/08
    Surgery to remove tumor - June 18th 2008
    Colostomy Reversal August 20th 2008
    Chemotherapy 5 months (Xeloda) finished Christmas 2008
    Local recurrence found May 2011
    Permanent colostomy and salvage APR surgery June 3rd 2011
    Stage 3C - 4 of 12 lymph nodes involved
    Finished 12 treatments of FOLFOX 6 - January 17th 2012 - Happy Dance!
    March 2012 - clean CAT Scan
    August 2012 - Cancer moves to stage 4
    CAT shows cancer cells implanted in pelvis/abdomen
    September - PET shows lung lesion 1.4 x 1 cm
    October - begin sessions of Folfiri.3 - Avastin, Irotecan, 5fu
    February 2013 - tumors shrinking, continuing biweekly chemo
    April 2013 finished all 12 Folfiri treatments, scan shows only lung lesions
    May - October Blessed chemo break!
    October 2013, scan shows more growth in pelvis and lungs
    Continue with biweekly Folfiri.3 - Avastin, Irotecan, leucovorin, 5fu
    April 2014 CAT scan shows tumors in liver
    June 2014 More tumor growth, stop Irinotecan cocktail after two years
    June 2014 Begin Regorafenib (Stivarga)

  4. #4
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    Thanks for your responses..
    I am stage IIIB.. My ct scans haven't shown any additional tumors...
    I'm going to look at getting a second opinion but I very much enjoy my current surgeon who is the colon specialist in the area.

  5. #5
    Senior User swisecar's Avatar
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    Not to scare you . . . just fair warning. My original primary tumor did not "show up" on a CT scan (I was diagnosed by colonoscopy). Also, my metastatic tumors did not "show up" on my CT scans. The PET/CT scan identified my two additional tumors. Now that we know where to "look," the growth of the tumors can be followed by CT scans. With a CT scan it can be difficult to discern if tissue is normal or abnormal and if an abnormality is cancerous or dangerous at all.
    May 1988 acute lymphoblastic leukemia (2 yrs chemo & radiation)
    Sept 2009 papillary thyroid cancer (thyroid removal & radioactive iodine)
    Sept 2009 colon cancer stage IIIC (removal of sigmoid colon & resection)
    Oct 2009-May 2010 FOLFOX6
    July 2010 stage IV colon cancer, irinotecan & avastin
    Dec 2010-July 2011 avastin maintenance
    Sept 2011 tumor removal involving small bowel resections
    Nov 2011-April 2012 resume irinotecan
    May 29 2012 begin radiation treatments 15 total
    current age: 28

  6. #6
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    Hi Amanda,
    Trying to help here as in April, I had radical laproscopic colorectal surgery here in the UK, my surgeon is one of top laproscopic surgeons in the UK and travels the world as a laproscopic teacher.
    I don't know in your case where the tumor is located (I assume 1 tumor, 1 location ?) however laproscopic surgery is now called in the UK the golden standard for the majority of colorectal surgery.
    Unless the location of the tumor makes a laproscopic procedure impossible, but as your doctor is suggesting robotics, I can only assume manual laproscopy is an option, UNLESS the surgeon(s) are not experienced sufficiently to carry out the surgery.
    Recovery time is normally between 3 to 5 days from operation to discharge, this is the norm in the UK, unless like me the bowel goes on strike then it's anyone's guess. My case the damn thing didn't want to work for 12 days, but that's highly unusual.
    Make sure you get the best surgeon there is, even with robotics, the surgeon will normally use laproscopic techniques. Make sure you don't become guinea pig for robotics, if the guy has the skills with robotic arms sure as hell he can use his own arms and hands.
    Question why he is proposing robotics, as this seems odd to me that he is moving you away from conventional laproscopy.
    Ask and keep asking why he suggests this and don't stop asking until you get a answer you are comfortable with.
    Any other help, jus holla and I will do my best to find out anything I can for you
    Best of luck and stay with it
    Barry

  7. #7
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    Amanda,
    Just a few words in case you are monitoring your thread.
    I had a follow up with my surgeon today who is now professor of surgery at Portsmouth university and head of surgery at a Major UK H N S hospital.
    Won't bore you with my details, but I am pronounced clear Good news
    I remembered your question regarding robotic laproscopic surgery.
    His reply WHAT , I explained and he just looked oddly at me and said and I quote " Robotic laproscopy is no advantage over conventional laproscopy, it is not possible to replace direct visual and hands on by a qualified surgeon" end quote.
    I'm sure you can read between the lines, he is not going to go against a fellow surgeon, but qualified all his comments as it is the skill and experience of the surgeon particularly with a laproscopic section that are the keys to a successful outcome
    I trust this surgeon with my life as he is by far the best and most experienced laproscopic surgeon in the UK and travels the world as a laproscopic colorectal teacher.
    Hope this may be of some help.
    Best wishes
    Barry

 
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