Clin Colon Rectal Surg 2010; 23(1): 051-058
DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1247856
© Thieme Medical Publishers

Laparoscopy for Colon and Rectal Cancer

Govind Nandakumar1 , James W. Fleshman1
  • 1Section of Colon and Rectal Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri
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Publication History

Publication Date:
09 March 2010 (online)


Laparoscopy has emerged as a useful tool in the surgical treatment of diseases of the colon and rectum. Specifically, in the application of colon cancer, a laparoscopic-assisted approach offers short-term benefits to patients while maintaining a long-term oncologic outcome. Hand-assisted laparoscopic surgery may help decrease operative times while preserving the benefits of laparoscopy. The literature on the use of laparoscopy for rectal cancer is still in its early stages. Limited data suggest short-term benefits without compromising oncologic outcome; however, data from large multicenter trials will clarify the role of laparoscopy in the treatment of rectal cancer. Robotic proctectomy is a novel technique that may offer considerable advantage and overcome some limitations laparoscopy creates while working in the confines of the pelvis. The improved magnification and visualization offered with the robot may also assist in preserving bladder and sexual function. Transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM) for the treatment of T1 rectal cancers with low-risk features appears to be safe. However, TEM has a significantly higher recurrence rate when used to treat invasive cancer. Endoluminal techniques and equipment are under development and could offer more minimally invasive approaches to the treatment of colon and rectal cancer. Credentialing and training of surgeons and teams involved in the use of laparoscopy is important prior to making these techniques ubiquitous.


Govind NandakumarM.D. 

Section of Colon and Rectal Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine

660 South Euclid Ave, Box 8109, St. Louis MO 63110