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European Academy of Robotic Colorectal Surgery (EARCS) Launched at the Champalimaud Foundation

EARCS Logo 3 image only



European Academy of Robotic Colorectal Surgery (EARCS) launched at the Champalimaud Foundation Symposium on "Pelvic Happiness for Pelvic Cancer Patients - Function Preservation by Treatment Precision" in Lisbon, Portugal. 


Today, at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown in Lisbon, Portugal a multidisciplinary panel of world-renowned experts met to discuss how best to preserve "pelvic happiness" in patients suffering from pelvic tumours during the symposium on “Pelvic Happiness for Pelvic Cancer Patients - Function Preservation by Treatment Precision”. The Champalimaud Foundation, used the platform of the symposium to announce the launch of the European Academy for Robotic Colorectal Surgery (EARCS), an exciting new surgical training programme designed to meet the growing interest in adopting robotic surgery, particularly for rectal resection.

Laparoscopy has become the gold standard for the treatment of colorectal cancer in the Western World. It is associated with better short-term outcomes, such as less postoperative pain, less blood loss, reduced analgesia requirement and shorter hospital stay. Whilst laparoscopic colonic surgery is relatively easy to perform with minimal impact on oncological outcomes, laparoscopic rectal cancer surgery is associated with higher morbidity and higher rates of conversion to open procedure. Pelvic surgery for rectal cancer presents the technical problems of bony confines, access and exposure issues, that makes this surgery technically very challenging. With a robotic surgical system, some of these technical issues of exposure, access and wrist manipulation can be overcome.

Currently, less than 20% of rectal cancer surgery patients have laparoscopic surgery in Europe. This increases to 30-60% (depending on the country) for colon cancer patients. The average length of stay in hospital for open rectal cancer patients after surgery is 12-15 days, with complication rates of around 35-40% for rectal resections. Professor Amjad Parvaiz is currently performing robotic colorectal surgery at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth (UK) and teaching the technique to European surgeons using the minimally invasive robotic da Vinci® Surgical System. His experience using this tool for the first 100 consecutive cases has shown excellent results. His conversion rate to open surgery is 0% and the length of stay in hospital for patients is 6 days.

The EARCS training programme is designed to improve patient outcomes for European colorectal cancer patients by improving the entire surgeon learning pathway for minimally invasive surgery, including technology, training, mentor relationships and data evaluation. EARCS will be directed by two of the foremost experts of laparoscopic and robotic surgery in the world: Professor Amjad Parvaiz of Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth (UK) and the Champalimuad Foundation in Lisbon (Portugal); and Professor Giuseppe Spinoglio of the Istituto Clinico Humanitas in Milan (Italy). The EARCS faculty includes 15 leading surgeons in 7 European countries. Central coordination for EARCS is based at the Champalimaud Foundation and training will be given by the following EARCS Faculty Members with the robotic da Vinci® Surgical System: 

  • Dr. Alain Valverde

Hospitalier Diaconesses Croix Saint-Simon

Paris, France

  • Prof. Amjad Parvaiz

Queen Alexandra Hospital

Portsmouth, UK

  • Dr. Benno Mann

Augusta Kliniken Bochum

Bochum, Germany

  • Dr. Daniel Perez

Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

Hamburg, Germany

  • Prof. David Jayne

St James’s University Hospital

Leeds, UK

  • Dr. Fabrizio Luca

Istituto Europeo di Oncologia

Milan, Italy

  • Prof. Giuseppe Spinoglio

Istituto Clinico Humanitas

Milan, Italy

  • Dr. Henrik Loft Jakobsen

Herlev Hospital

Herlev, Denmark

  • Prof. Jan Egberts

Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein

Kiel, Germany

  • Dr. Marcos Gomez Ruiz

Marqués de Valdecilla University Hospital

Santander, Spain

  • Dr. Niels Thomassen

Aarhus University Hospital

Aarhus, Denmark

  • Prof. Philippe Rouanet

ICM Montpellier

Montpellier, France

  • Prof. Sergio Alfieri

Policlinico Agostino Gemelli - Università Cattolica Sacro Cuore

Rome, Italy

  • Dr. Tero Rautio

Oulu University Hospital

Oulu, Finland

  • Prof. Thomas Becker

Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein

Kiel, Germany

Training normally takes place through a combination of both "case-observation" at the hospital of the EARCS Faculty Member and "proctored training sessions”. Proctored training sessions involve the EARCS Faculty Member attending the consultant trainees’ hospital base where the trainee performs a case under direct supervision of the EARCS Faculty Member.

About the Intuitive robotic da Vinci® Surgical System

The Intuitive robotic da Vinci® Surgical System enables surgeons to perform delicate and complex operations through a few small incisions. The da Vinci Surgical System consists of several key components, including: an ergonomically designed console where the surgeon sits while operating, a patient-side cart where the patient is positioned during surgery, interactive robotic arms, a 3D HD vision system, and proprietary EndoWrist® instruments. da Vinci  is powered by state-of-the-art robotic technology that allows the surgeon’s hand movements to be scaled, filtered and translated into precise movements of the EndoWrist instruments working inside the patient’s body.

da Vinci Si System training console

da Vinci Si Surgical System