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APCC conducts rectal cancer surgery with robotic stapler

The surgery was performed by Dr Ajit Pai, Senior Consultant, Lead GI Surgical Oncology and his team at Apollo Proton Cancer Centre

Apollo Proton Cancer Centre (APCC) conducted the first surgery using the robotic stapler’ on a woman from Bangladesh for rectal cancer. The 55-year-old woman with low rectal cancer visited Apollo Proton Cancer Centre in March 2021. She was diagnosed with locally advanced rectal cancer and received chemotherapy with radiotherapy to shrink cancer. 

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The patient was re-evaluated in June 2021. Since the tumour had shrunk considerably with the previous treatment, the patient was counselled to undergo a robot-assisted surgical procedure, known as a low anterior resection. In this procedure, the rectum is divided below the tumour using a device called a stapler. This division is the critical part of the procedure, as the rectum has to be divided in a straight line and at an adequate distance from cancer. 

Traditionally, laparoscopic staplers are used for the procedure. Usually, they are cumbersome for surgeons to use as they do not transect in a straight line. For the first time in India and at APCC the robotic stapler known as SureForm was used to seamlessly complete the procedure, with the secure division of the rectum.

The surgery was performed by Dr Ajit Pai, Senior Consultant, Lead GI Surgical Oncology and his team at Apollo Proton Cancer Centre. The patient recovered well from the procedure and was discharged without any complications in three days. 

The stapler is part of the armamentarium provided with the da Vinci robotic platform. The stapler can rotate in tight spaces such as the pelvis and has a range of movement of 120 degrees which is much more than the human hand or laparoscopic staplers. This leads to unparalleled freedom to manipulate the device and achieve an optimal outcome for patients with low rectal cancer, oesophageal, stomach, and pancreatic cancer.

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