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Robotic Surgery

As leading surgeons in the field of colon and rectal surgery, our physicians understand the importance of maintaining the highest standard of patient care. We continue to evaluate, research and learn new technologies to provide the very latest minimally invasive surgical techniques to our patients. The da Vinci® Surgical System gives us a level of operating precision that has never before been possible in laparoscopic procedures.

In May 2005, our surgeons became the first surgeons in Chicago to perform robotic colorectal surgery using the da Vinci® Surgical System. Our group is one of the first worldwide to utilize the robotic system in the colorectal resections and is the largest and most experienced in Greater Chicago in performing robotic assisted colon and rectal surgery. We are proud to carry the distinction of pioneers in robotic colorectal surgery. Each of our surgeons is trained and certified to perform leading-edge robotic assisted surgery.

Why Robotic Surgery?

When dealing with rectal cancer, studies have shown that the cleanest and the most anatomical resection of the rectum is  associated with the best oncologic and functional outcomes. Robotic surgery allows for that level of precision.

While patients sometimes get confused by the word robot, the da Vinci® Surgical System is, technically, a robot operated by a trained surgeon. This technology works similar to laparoscopic surgery where tiny incisions are made, providing a portal for the instruments to be inserted to perform a specific procedure. The surgeon is able to isolate exact areas and perform the procedure with what could be described as "robotic hands or fingers." The da Vinci® Surgical System also allows the surgeon to have full range of motion with the instruments unlike laparoscopic surgery.

Benefits of Robotic Surgery include:

  • Improved precision of surgery
  • Better visualization
  • Smaller incisions
  • Less pain
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Quicker return to normal bowel functions

Lately, attention has been given to advertisements questioning the benefits of robotic surgery and reporting about complications related to robotic surgery. None of the known allegations have been associated with colon or rectal surgery. Unfortunately, this new technology can be used incorrectly and some surgeons use it before being properly trained.

We Are Experts in Robotic Surgery

As pioneers of robotic surgery, we stand behind our strong belief that robotic surgery improves surgical outcomes in specific situations. This is especially valid for areas that are difficult to access, such as the human pelvis. In the most difficult scenarios, where advanced cancers are located close to the sphincter muscles, and especially in obese individuals, robotic surgery is often the best solution. It can provide the cleanest and most effective way to remove the cancer. We continue to collect and analyze surgical data in an effort to prove the superiority of robotic rectal resection in these most difficult clinical scenarios.

Because we believe so strongly in proper research, training and transfer of knowledge to surgeons who are not experienced in advanced robotic colorectal surgery, each of our doctors train surgeons at national and international institutions. In particular, our surgeons continue to serve as teaching faculty in robotic surgery at American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) Annual Meetings.

Our robotic surgical technique videos have been accepted and presented year after year at the Annual Meeting of ASCRS, as well as other international meetings (see: News section).

In addition, our work in this field has been published and presented at national and international meetings:

Book Chapters

Book Chapter "Robotic Colorectal Surgery for Neoplasia" Pai A, Marecik S, Park J, Prasad L, Advances in Colorectal Neoplasia by Langenfeld; Surg Clin North Am. 2017 Jun;97(3):561-572; PMID: 28501247

Book Chapter “Rectal Anatomy: Clinical Perspective” Marecik SJ, Park JJ, Prasad LM, Rectal Cancer: Modern Approaches to Treatment‏ by Chang et al. Publish Date Oct 2017

Book Chapter “Robotic Approaches in the Obese Patient”, Pai A, Marecik SJ, Park JJ, Prasad LM, Robotic Approaches to Colorectal Surgery by Ross, Champaigne, Lee et al. Published Oct 2015

Chapter “Teaching advanced laparoscopic skills in colorectal surgery” Marecik SJ, Bergamaschi R; Training in Minimal Access Surgery, by Francis, Fingerhut, Bergamaschi, Published 2015

American College of Surgeons Video Anthology Collections (Ciné-Med): VA-33: Colorectal V: Advanced I; ACS-3130 Robotic Abdominoperineal Resection with Sacrectomy & VA-34: Colorectal VI: Advanced II; ACS-3133 Intersphincteric Dissection Followed by Robotic Abdominoperineal Resection for Anterior Rectal Cancer

Book Chapter: "Robot Assisted TME for Rectal Cancer" Marecik SJ, Park JJ, Prasad LM Robotic Surgery, 2nd edition, Gharagozloo, Najam, Margolis, Poston, Meyer, and Satava, McGraw Hill, New York. Submitted Sep 2012

Book Chapter "Robotic Left Colon Resections" Prasad LM, Marecik SJ Master Techniques in Colon and Rectal Surgery by Fleshman J, Wexner S Published Jan 2012

Book Chapter "Right Colon Robotic Resections" Prasad LM, Ramamoorthy SL Master Techniques in Colon and Rectal Surgery by Fleshman J, Wexner S Published Jan 2012

Peer Reviewed Journal Publications

Rectal dissection simulator for da Vinci surgery - details of simulator manufacturing with evidence of construct, face, and content validity                                                                                                                                                                            
Melich G, Marecik SJ, Park J, Prasad LM                                                                                                                                  Dis Colon Rectum 2017 in press

Robotic site adjusted levator transection for carcinoma of the rectum: A modification of the existing cylindrical abdominoperineal resection for eccentrically located tumors                                                                                                 Pai A, Eftaiha S, Melich G, Park J, Lin PL, Prasad LM, Marecik SJ                                                                                    World J Surg. 2017 Feb;41(2):590-595                                                                                                                              PMID: 27778072

Structured training and competence assessment in colorectal robotic surgery. Results of a consensus experts round table. Petz W, Spinoglio G, Choi GS, Parvaiz A, Santiago C, Marecik S, Giulianotti PC, Bianchi PP.
Int J Med Robot. 2016 Jan 25. doi: 10.1002/rcs.1731.
PMID: 26804812

Oncologic and Clinicopathological Outcomes of Robot-assisted Total Mesorectal Excision for Rectal Cancer
Pai A, Marecik SJ, Melich G, Sulo S, Park JJ, Prasad LM
Dis Colon Rectum. 2015 Jul;58(7):659-67
PMID: 26200680

Current status of robotic surgery for rectal cancer: A bird's eye view.
Pai A, Melich G, Marecik SJ, Park JJ, Prasad LM.
J Minim Access Surg. 2015 Jan-Mar;11(1):29-34
PMID: 25598596

Robot-assisted right colectomy: surgical technique and review of the literature.
Witkiewicz W, Zawadzki M, Rząca M, Obuszko Z, Czarnecki R, Turek J, Marecik S
Wideochir Inne Tech Malo Inwazyjne. 2013 Sep;8(3):253-7 Epub 2013 Mar 6.
PMID: 24130643

Is Hybrid Robotic Laparoscopic Assistance the Ideal Approach for Rectal Cancer Dissection? Zawadzki M, Velchuru VR, Albawi S, Marecik SJ, Park JJ, Prasad LM Colorectal Dis. 2013 in press

Postoperative Peripheral Neuropathy: Does Minimally Invasive Colon and Rectal Surgery Increase the Risk? Domajnko B, Velchuru VR, deSouza AL, Park JJ, Kapoor M, Prasad, L, Marecik SJ, Abcarian H Dis Colon Rectum. 2012 in press

Robotic Cylindrical Abdominoperineal Resection with Intraabdominal Levator Transection. Marecik SJ, Zawadzki M, deSouza AL, Park JJ, Abcarian H, Prasad L Dis Colon Rectum. 2011 Oct;54(10):1320-5

A Comparison of Robotic and Open Total Mesorectal Excision for Rectal Adenocarcinoma. deSouza AL, Prasad LM, Ricci J, Zimmern A, Marecik SJ, Park JJ, Abcarian H. Dis Colon Rectum. 2011 Mar;54(3):275-82

The evolving role of robotic colorectal surgery – the importance of comparative studies. deSouza AL, Prasad LM, Marecik SJ, Park JJ, Blumetti J, Abcarian H. Dis Colon Rectum. 2011

Minimally invasive rectal dissection: time to dock the robot. Prasad LM, Desouza AL. Dis Colon Rectum. 2011 Feb;54(2):139-41.

Total Mesorectal Excision for Rectal Cancer: The Potential Advantage of Robotic Assistance. deSouza AL, Prasad LM, Marecik SJ, Blumetti J, Park JJ, Zimmern A, Abcarian H. Dis Colon Rectum. 2010 Dec;53(12):1611-1617.

Robotic assistance in right hemicolectomy: is there a role? deSouza AL, Prasad LM, Park JJ, Marecik SJ, Blumetti J, Abcarian H. Dis Colon Rectum. 2010 Jul;53(7):1000-6.

Robotic colon and rectal surgery: a series of 131 cases. Zimmern A, Prasad L, Desouza A, Marecik S, Park J, Abcarian H. World J Surg. 2010 Aug;34(8):1954-8.

Robotic pursestring technique in low anterior resection. Prasad LM, deSouza AL, Marecik SJ, Park JJ, Abcarian H. Dis Colon Rectum. 2010 Feb;53(2):230-4.

Robotic Colorectal Surgery – Teaching and Skill Acquisition. Marecik SJ, deSouza AL, Prasad LM Semin Colon Rect Surg, 2009 Dec;20(4):201-6

Evaluation of midlevel and upper-level residents performing their first robotic-sutured intestinal anastomosis. Marecik SJ, Prasad LM, Park JJ, Jan A, Chaudhry V. Am J Surg. 2008 Mar;195(3):333-7; discussion 337-8.

A lifelike patient simulator for teaching robotic colorectal surgery: how to acquire skills for robotic rectal dissection. Marecik SJ, Prasad LM, Park JJ, Pearl RK, Evenhouse RJ, Shah A, Khan K, Abcarian H. Surg Endosc. 2008 Aug;22(8):1876-81.

A comparison of robotic, laparoscopic, and hand-sewn intestinal sutured anastomoses performed by residents. Marecik SJ, Chaudhry V, Jan A, Pearl RK, Park JJ, Prasad LM. Am J Surg. 2007 Mar;193(3):349-55; discussion 355.