Robert Wu

July 2016

  • Residency Program: University of Ottawa
  • Supervisors: Robin Boushey, Dawn Stacey, Joseph Mamazza,


Robert Wu did his undergraduate medicine training at the University of Toronto. He is currently completing his surgical residency training at the University of Ottawa and has recently finished his Masters degree in epidemiology in the Clinical Investigator Program. He wishes to explore and augment the role of shared decision-making in surgical interventions.


He was involved in a range of research projects during his residency. His thesis project focused on the evaluation of the rectal cancer patient decision aid on patients facing low anterior resection versus abdominoperineal resection, as well as the factors influencing its implementation in clinical practice as perceived by surgeons. Based on 32 patients with rectal cancer within 10 cm from the anal verge, they had poor baseline knowledge (52.5%) and improved by 37.5% (p < 0.0001) after using the patient decision aid. At baseline, no patients preferred a permanent stoma, and after decision aid exposure, 2 patients (7.1%) preferred permanent stoma. Over 96% of participants would recommend the patient decision aid to others. Based on survey results with a 46.7% response rate, half of the respondents (51%) reported that they were either “very likely” or “likely” to use the decision aid. Although majority agreed the decision aid is well developed and would be valuable to patients, commonly perceived barriers were time constraint, need for multiple visits, and additional personnel.

This research project was awarded the Physicians’ Services Incorporated Resident Research Grant. It has been presented at the 2014 CSF Symposium in Vancouver, 2014 American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress in San Francisco, and 2015 American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons meeting in Boston. The decision aid is currently being implemented at the Ottawa Hospital Cancer Assessment Centre.

He is also coordinating the INOPAIN trial exploring the use of intraperitoneal Ropivacaine during laparoscopic bariatric bypass surgery to reduce postoperative pain. The trial aims to recruit 120 patients with two parallel arms of intraperitoneal Ropivacaine vs. normal saline infusion over laparoscopic Roux-en-Y anastomosis prior to surgical dissection. Postoperative pain, opioid use, peak expiratory flow, and walk distance are the endpoints assessed at regular intervals. The study is ongoing and results are expected shortly.