Minimally invasive surgery for colorectal cancer is a burgeoning field of general surgery. Randomized controlled trials have assessed short-term patient-oriented and long-term oncologic outcomes for laparoscopic resection. These trials have demonstrated that the laparoscopic approach is equivalent to open surgery with a shorter hospital stay. Laparoscopic resection also may result in improved short-term patient-oriented outcomes and equivalent oncologic resections versus the open approach. Transanal excision of select rectal cancer using endoscopic microsurgery is promising and robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery is an emerging modality. The efficacy of minimally invasive treatment for rectal cancer compared with conventional approaches will be clarified further in randomized controlled trials.
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