The role of minimally invasive surgery in the treatment of transverse colon cancer is still controversial. The aim of this study is to investigate the advantages of a totally laparoscopic technique comparing open versus laparoscopic/robotic approach. Three hundred and eighty-eight patients with transverse colon cancer, treated with a segmental colon resection, were retrospectively analyzed. Demographic data, tumor stage, operative time, intraoperative complications, number of harvested lymph nodes and recovery outcomes were recorded. Recurrences and death were also evaluated during the follow-up. No differences were found between conventional and minimally invasive surgery, both for oncological long-term outcomes (recurrence rate p = 0.28; mortality p = 0.62) and postoperative complications (overall rate p = 0.43; anemia p = 0.78; nausea p = 0.68; infections p = 0.91; bleeding p = 0.62; anastomotic leak p = 0.55; ileus p = 0.75). Nevertheless, recovery outcomes showed statistically significant differences in favor of minimally invasive surgery in terms of time to first flatus (p = 0.001), tolerance to solid diet (p = 0.017), time to first mobilization (p = 0.001) and hospital stay (p = 0.004). Compared with laparoscopic approach, robotic surgery showed significantly better results for time to first flatus (p = 0.001), to first mobilization (p = 0.005) and tolerance to solid diet (p = 0.001). Finally, anastomosis evaluation confirmed the superiority of intracorporeal approach which showed significantly better results for time to first flatus (p = 0.001), to first mobilization (p = 0.003) and tolerance to solid diet (p = 0.001); moreover, we recorded a statistical difference in favor of intracorporeal approach for infection rate (p = 0.04), bleeding (p = 0.001) and anastomotic leak (p = 0.03). Minimally invasive approach is safe and effective as the conventional open surgery, with comparable oncological results but not negligible advantages in terms of recovery outcomes. Moreover, we demonstrated that robotic approach may be considered a valid option and an intracorporeal anastomosis should always be preferred.
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