Background: Laparoscopic endoscopic cooperative colorectal surgery (LECS-CR) is a promising technique to achieve full-thickness resection of colorectal tumors. This approach has shown good rates of complete resection and low local recurrence, especially for large laterally spreading tumors, which are difficult to remove via endoscopy alone. However, it is often difficult to prevent peritoneal leakage of intestinal content, causing infections and risks of cancer spreading. It was hypothesized that a robotic assistance could make the procedure easier and decrease intestinal fluid leakage. This preclinical trial aims to assess the feasibility of robotic and endoscopic cooperative colorectal surgery (RECS-CR). Methods: LECS-CR was performed in five female pigs and RECS-CR was also performed in five female pigs. With the animal under general anesthesia, pseudotumors were created on the colonic mucosa at a distance comprised between 20 and 25 cm from the anal verge. Desired resection margins were marked endoscopically and two stay sutures were placed either robotically or laparoscopically. A mucosa-to-submucosa dissection was performed endoscopically along the markings. Complete full-thickness dissection was performed cooperatively. The specimen was withdrawn endoscopically. The colon was closed using a self-fixating running suture. Abdominal contaminations, operating times, complications, and complete resections were evaluated and compared between LECS-CR and RECS-CR. Results: The mean number of colonies of Escherichia coli in the RECS group was significantly lower than in the LECS group (36.7 ± 30.2 vs. 142.2 ± 78.4, respectively, p < 0.05). Operating time was comparable (118 ± 11.2 vs. 98.6 ± 25.7, respectively, p = 0.22). Two stenoses occurred in the LECS group. R0 resection was achieved in all cases. Conclusion: This study suggests that RECS-CR is feasible and has the potential to reduce intestinal content leakage, potentially preventing postoperative infections.
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