Author(s): Makin GB, Breen DJ, Monson JR
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Abstract Advances in technology continue at a rapid pace and affect all aspects of life, including surgery. We have reviewed some of these advances and the impact they are having on the investigation and management of colorectal cancer. Modern endoscopes, with magnifying, variable stiffness and localisation capabilities are making the primary investigation of colonic cancer easier and more acceptable for patients. Imaging investigations looking at primary, metastatic and recurrent disease are shifting to digital data sets, which can be stored, reviewed remotely, potentially fused with other modalities and reconstructed as 3 dimensional (3D) images for the purposes of advanced diagnostic interpretation and computer assisted surgery. They include virtual colonoscopy, trans-rectal ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography and radioimmunoscintigraphy. Once a colorectal carcinoma is diagnosed, the treatment options available are expanding. Colonic stents are being used to relieve large bowel obstruction, either as a palliative measure or to improve the patient's overall condition before definitive surgery. Transanal endoscopic microsurgery and minimally invasive techniques are being used with similar outcomes and a lower mortality, morbidity and hospital stay than open trans-abdominal surgery. Transanal endoscopic microsurgery allows precise excision of both benign and early malignant lesions in the mid and upper rectum. Survival of patients with inoperable hepatic metastases following radiofrequency ablation is encouraging. Robotics and telemedicine are taking surgery well into the 21(st) century. Artificial neural networks are being developed to enable us to predict the outcome for individual patients. New technology has a major impact on the way we practice surgery for colorectal cancer.
This article was published in World J Gastroenterol
and referenced in Advances in Robotics & Automation