BackgroundProper identification of the mesocolic vessels is essential for achieving complete mesocolic excision (CME) in cases of colon cancer requiring an extended right hemicolectomy. In robotic procedures, we employed a top down technique to allow early identification of the gastrocolic trunk and middle colic vessels. The aim of our study was to illustrate the details of this technique in a series of 12 patients.MethodsThe top down technique consists of two steps. First, the omental bursa was entered to identify the right gastroepiploic vein. Tracing down this vein as a landmark, the gastrocolic trunk was exposed, branches of this trunk and the middle colic vessels were divided. Second, dissection was directed to the ileocolic region and proceeded in an inferior-to-superior direction along the superior mesenteric vein to divide the ileocolic and right colic vessels consecutively. The ileotranverse anastomosis was created intracorporeally.ResultsThere were 8 males and 4 females with a mean age of 64.816.9years and a mean body mass index of 25.6 +/- 3.7kg/m(2). All the procedures were completed successfully. No conversions occurred. The mean operative time and blood loss were 312.1 +/- 93.9min and 110.0 +/- 89.9ml, respectively. The mean number of harvested lymph nodes was 45.2 +/- 11.1. The mean length of hospital stay was 7.6 +/- 4.7days. Two patients had intraoperative complications and two had postoperative complications. There was no disease recurrence at a mean follow-up period of 10.4 +/- 7.1months.Conclusions The top down technique appears to be useful in robotic CME for an extended right hemicolectomy. Early identification of the gastrocolic trunk and middle colic vessels via this technique may prevent inadvertent vascular injury at the mesenteric root of the transverse colon.