Robotic Colorectal Surgery

At the University of Michigan, we perform hundreds of colon and rectal surgeries every year. Our surgeons have honed their technical craft through experience. We know that every patient has specific needs, and we offer them the best care, providing the right technology for the right patient. Our expert group of board-certified colorectal surgery specialists offers minimally invasive surgical approaches for the treatment of colon and rectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, rectal prolapse, and other colorectal conditions.


The most readily available minimally invasive surgical technique in colon and rectal surgery is laparoscopic surgery. Laparoscopic surgery allows for segments of the colon and rectum to be removed through small incisions, using a digital camera and advanced instrumentation. Laparoscopy has been proven to improve patient outcomes, including risk of infection and days spent in the hospital. These advantages are due to the smaller incisions, which result in less pain and a quicker recovery.

Robotic Surgery

Robotic surgery is a form of minimally invasive colorectal surgery offered under circumstances in which our robotic surgeons believe there is measurable safety and categorical benefit for our patients. Like other minimally invasive techniques, robotic surgery relies on small incisions, which can reduce complication rates when compared to large incision or open surgery. But robotic surgery is a more recent technique, and hasn’t yet been as extensively studied. When used inappropriately, robotic surgery can potentially increase hospital and other medical costs. At the University of Michigan, we’re confident in our ability to provide robotics expertly, appropriately, and only when they will serve the patient’s best interests.

Robotic surgery offers important advantages over laparoscopy, including improved ergonomics and optics for the operating surgeon due to the unique wristed instruments. For rectal cancer specifically, the robot allows for a finer dissection of the rectum out of the tight space where it is located. The advantages of robotic surgery are especially applicable in cases like these, where the safety and outcomes of laparoscopic surgery have not been as well established, perhaps due to the difficulty of laparoscopic pelvic surgery. The improved ergonomics that robotics offer are therefore hugely beneficial in the treatment of colorectal conditions.

We offer robotic colorectal surgery as a treatment option for the following conditions:

  • Colon cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Diverticulitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
    • Crohn’s disease of the duodenum, small intestine, colon, rectum, and anus
    •  Ulcerative colitis to restorative total proctocolectomy
  • Trans-anal conditions
  • Rectal prolapse
  • Multivisceral surgery (multiple organ system) for cancer and pelvic organ/rectal prolapse, as part of combined surgery with Urology and Gynecology

Not every patient is a candidate for minimally invasive robotic surgery or laparoscopy. At the University of Michigan, our priority is to provide the safest, best surgical care for all patients.

Individually, and is a team, we have participated in many of the most important national studies and discussions of the use of minimally invasive and robotic surgery for colon and rectal surgery so as to provide the best care for our patients today. We work at the forefront of innovation so that we can also provide for the generations to come.

Please contact us for an appointment today to discuss the best care for you.