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1.  Robotic-Assisted Minimally Invasive Surgery for Gynecologic and Urologic Oncology 
Executive Summary
An application was received to review the evidence on the ‘The Da Vinci Surgical System’ for the treatment of gynecologic malignancies (e.g. endometrial and cervical cancers). Limitations to the current standard of care include the lack of trained physicians on minimally invasive surgery and limited access to minimally invasive surgery for patients. The potential benefits of ‘The Da Vinci Surgical System’ include improved technical manipulation and physician uptake leading to increased surgeries, and treatment and management of these cancers.
The demand for robotic surgery for the treatment and management of prostate cancer has been increasing due to its alleged benefits of recovery of erectile function and urinary continence, two important factors of men’s health. The potential technical benefits of robotic surgery leading to improved patient functional outcomes are surgical precision and vision.
Clinical Need
Uterine and cervical cancers represent 5.4% (4,400 of 81,700) and 1.6% (1,300 of 81,700), respectively, of incident cases of cancer among female cancers in Canada. Uterine cancer, otherwise referred to as endometrial cancer is cancer of the lining of the uterus. The most common treatment option for endometrial cancer is removing the cancer through surgery. A surgical option is the removal of the uterus and cervix through a small incision in the abdomen using a laparoscope which is referred to as total laparoscopic hysterectomy. Risk factors that increase the risk of endometrial cancer include taking estrogen replacement therapy after menopause, being obese, early age at menarche, late age at menopause, being nulliparous, having had high-dose radiation to the pelvis, and use of tamoxifen.
Cervical cancer occurs at the lower narrow end of the uterus. There are more treatment options for cervical cancer compared to endometrial cancer, however total laparoscopic hysterectomy is also a treatment option. Risk factors that increase the risk for cervical cancer are multiple sexual partners, early sexual activity, infection with the human papillomavirus, and cigarette smoking, whereas barrier-type of contraception as a risk factor decreases the risk of cervical cancer.
Prostate cancer is ranked first in men in Canada in terms of the number of new cases among all male cancers (25,500 of 89,300 or 28.6%). The impact on men who develop prostate cancer is substantial given the potential for erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence. Prostate cancer arises within the prostate gland, which resides in the male reproductive system and near the bladder. Radical retropubic prostatectomy is the gold standard treatment for localized prostate cancer. Prostate cancer affects men above 60 years of age. Other risk factors include a family history of prostate cancer, being of African descent, being obese, consuming a diet high in fat, physical inactivity, and working with cadium.
The Da Vinci Surgical System
The Da Vinci Surgical System is a robotic device. There are four main components to the system: 1) the surgeon’s console, where the surgeon sits and views a magnified three-dimensional image of the surgical field; 2) patient side-cart, which sits beside the patient and consists of three instrument arms and one endoscope arm; 3) detachable instruments (endowrist instruments and intuitive masters), which simulate fine motor human movements. The hand movements of the surgeon’s hands at the surgeon’s console are translated into smaller ones by the robotic device and are acted out by the attached instruments; 4) three-dimensional vision system: the camera unit or endoscope arm. The main advantages of use of the robotic device are: 1) the precision of the instrument and improved dexterity due to the use of “wristed” instruments; 2) three-dimensional imaging, with improved ability to locate blood vessels, nerves and tissues; 3) the surgeon’s console, which reduces fatigue accompanied with conventional laparoscopy surgery and allows for tremor-free manipulation. The main disadvantages of use of the robotic device are the costs including instrument costs ($2.6 million in US dollars), cost per use ($200 per use), the costs associated with training surgeons and operating room personnel, and the lack of tactile feedback, with the trade-off being increased visual feedback.
Research Questions
For endometrial and cervical cancers,
1. What is the effectiveness of the Da Vinci Surgical System vs. laparoscopy and laparotomy for women undergoing any hysterectomy for the surgical treatment and management of their endometrial and cervical cancers?
2. What are the incremental costs of the Da Vinci Surgical System vs. laparoscopy and laparotomy for women undergoing any hysterectomy for the surgical treatment and management of their endometrial and cervical cancers?
For prostate cancer,
3. What is the effectiveness of robotically-assisted radical prostatectomy using the Da Vinci Surgical System vs. laparoscopic radical prostatectomy and retropubic radical prostatectomy for the surgical treatment and management of prostate cancer?
4. What are the incremental costs of robotically-assisted radical prostatectomy using the Da Vinci Surgical System vs. laparoscopic radical prostatectomy and retropubic radical prostatectomy for the surgical treatment and management of prostate cancer?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on May 12, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, OVID EMBASE, Wiley Cochrane, CINAHL, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination/International Agency for Health Technology Assessment for studies published from January 1, 2000 until May 12, 2010. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. Articles with unknown eligibility were reviewed with a second clinical epidemiologist, then a group of epidemiologists until consensus was established. The quality of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low or very low according to GRADE methodology.
Inclusion Criteria
English language articles (January 1, 2000-May 12, 2010)
Journal articles that report on the effectiveness or cost-effectiveness for the comparisons of interest using a primary data source (e.g. obtained in a clinical setting)
Journal articles that report on the effectiveness or cost-effectiveness for the comparisons of interest using a secondary data source (e.g. hospital- or population-based registries)
Study design and methods must be clearly described
Health technology assessments, systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials, non-randomized controlled trials and/or cohort studies, case-case studies, regardless of sample size, cost-effectiveness studies
Exclusion Criteria
Duplicate publications (with the more recent publication on the same study population included)
Non-English papers
Animal or in-vitro studies
Case reports or case series without a referent or comparison group
Studies on long-term survival which may be affected by treatment
Studies that do not examine the cancers (e.g. advanced disease) or outcomes of interest
Outcomes of Interest
For endometrial and cervical cancers,
Primary outcomes:
Morbidity factors
- Length of hospitalization
- Number of complications*
Peri-operative factors
- Operation time
- Amount of blood loss*
- Number of conversions to laparotomy*
Number of lymph nodes recovered
For prostate cancer,
Primary outcomes:
Morbidity factors
- Length of hospitalization
- Amount of morphine use/pain*
Peri-operative factors
- Operation time
- Amount of blood loss*
- Number of transfusions*
- Duration of catheterization
- Number of complications*
- Number of anastomotic strictures*
Number of lymph nodes recovered
Oncologic factors
- Proportion of positive surgical margins
Long-term outcomes
- Urinary continence
- Erectile function
Summary of Findings
Robotic use for gynecologic oncology compared to:
Laparotomy: benefits of robotic surgery in terms of shorter length of hospitalization and less blood loss. These results indicate clinical effectiveness in terms of reduced morbidity and safety, respectively, in the context of study design limitations.
The beneficial effect of robotic surgery was shown in pooled analysis for complications, owing to increased sample size.
More work is needed to clarify the role of complications in terms of safety, including improved study designs, analysis and measurement.
Laparoscopy: benefits of robotic surgery in terms of shorter length of hospitalization, less blood loss and fewer conversions to laparotomy likely owing to the technical difficulty of conventional laparoscopy, in the context of study design limitations.
Clinical significance of significant findings for length of hospitalizations and blood loss is low.
Fewer conversions to laparotomy indicate clinical effectiveness in terms of reduced morbidity.
Robotic use for urologic oncology, specifically prostate cancer, compared to:
Retropubic surgery: benefits of robotic surgery in terms of shorter length of hospitalization and less blood loss/fewer individuals requiring transfusions. These results indicate clinical effectiveness in terms of reduced morbidity and safety, respectively, in the context of study design limitations. There was a beneficial effect in terms of decreased positive surgical margins and erectile dysfunction. These results indicate clinical effectiveness in terms of improved cancer control and functional outcomes, respectively, in the context of study design limitations.
Surgeon skill had an impact on cancer control and functional outcomes.
The results for complications were inconsistent when measured as either total number of complications, pain management or anastomosis. There is some suggestion that robotic surgery is safe with respect to less post-operative pain management required compared to retropubic surgery, however improved study design and measurement of complications need to be further addressed.
Clinical significance of significant findings for length of hospitalizations is low.
Laparoscopy: benefits of robotic surgery in terms of less blood loss and fewer individuals requiring transfusions likely owing to the technical difficulty of conventional laparoscopy, in the context of study design limitations.
Clinical significance of significant findings for blood loss is low.
The potential link between less blood loss, improved visualization and improved functional outcomes is an important consideration for use of robotics.
All studies included were observational in nature and therefore the results must be interpreted cautiously.
Economic Analysis
The objective of this project was to assess the economic impact of robotic-assisted laparoscopy (RAL) for endometrial, cervical, and prostate cancers in the province of Ontario.
A budget impact analysis was undertaken to report direct costs associated with open surgery (OS), endoscopic laparoscopy (EL) and robotic-assisted laparoscopy (RAL) based on clinical literature review outcomes, to report a budget impact in the province based on volumes and costs from administrative data sets, and to project a future impact of RAL in Ontario. A cost-effectiveness analysis was not conducted because of the low quality evidence from the clinical literature review.
Hospital costs were obtained from the Ontario Case Costing Initiative (OCCI) for the appropriate Canadian Classification of Health Intervention (CCI) codes restricted to selective ICD-10 diagnostic codes after consultation with experts in the field. Physician fees were obtained from the Ontario Schedule of Benefits (OSB) after consultation with experts in the field. Fees were costed based on operation times reported in the clinical literature for the procedures being investigated. Volumes of procedures were obtained from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) administrative databases.
Direct costs associated with RAL, EL and OS included professional fees, hospital costs (including disposable instruments), radiotherapy costs associated with positive surgical margins in prostate cancer and conversion to OS in gynecological cancer. The total cost per case was higher for RAL than EL and OS for both gynecological and prostate cancers. There is also an acquisition cost associated with RAL. After conversation with the only supplier in Canada, hospitals are looking to spend an initial 3.6M to acquire the robotic surgical system
Previous volumes of OS and EL procedures were used to project volumes into Years 1-3 using a linear mathematical expression. Burden of OS and EL hysterectomies and prostatectomies was calculated by multiplying the number of cases for that year by the cost/case of the procedure.
The number of procedures is expected to increase in the next three years based on historical data. RAL is expected to capture this market by 65% after consultation with experts. If it’s assumed that RAL will capture the current market in Ontario by 65%, the net impact is expected to be by Year 3, 3.1M for hysterectomy and 6.7M for prostatectomy procedures respectively in the province.
RAL has diffused in the province with four surgical systems in place in Ontario, two in Toronto and two in London. RAL is a more expensive technology on a per case basis due to more expensive robot specific instrumentation and physician labour reflected by increased OR time reported in the clinical literature. There is also an upfront cost to acquire the machine and maintenance contract. RAL is expected to capture the market at 65% with project net impacts by Year 3 of 3.1M and 6.7M for hysterectomy and prostatectomy respectively.
PMCID: PMC3382308  PMID: 23074405
2.  Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopy in Gynecological Surgery 
Laparoscopic surgery has revolutionized the concept of minimally invasive surgery for the last 3 decades. Robotic-assisted surgery is one of the latest innovations in the field of minimally invasive surgery. Already, many procedures have been performed in urology, cardiac surgery, and general surgery. In this article, we attempt to report our preliminary experience with robotic-assisted laparoscopy in a variety of gynecological surgeries. We sought to evaluate the role of robotic-assisted laparoscopy in gynecological surgeries.
The study was a case series of 15 patients who underwent various gynecologic surgeries for combined laparoscopic and robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery. The da Vinci robot was used in each case at a tertiary referral center for laparoscopic gynecologic surgery. An umbilicus, suprapubic, and 2 lateral ports were inserted. These surgeries were performed both using laparoscopic and robotic-assisted laparoscopic techniques. The assembly and disassembly time to switch from laparoscopy to robotic-assisted surgery was measured. Subjective advantages and disadvantages of using robotic-assisted laparoscopy in gynecological surgeries were evaluated.
Fifteen patients underwent a variety of gynecologic surgeries, such as myomectomies, treatment of endometriosis, total and supracervical hysterectomy, ovarian cystectomy, sacral colpopexy, and Moskowitz procedure. The assembly time to switch from laparoscopy to robotic-assisted surgery was 18.9 minutes (range, 14 to 27), and the disassembly time was 2.1 minutes (range, 1 to 3). Robotic-assisted laparoscopy acts as a bridge between laparoscopy and laparotomy but has the disadvantage of being costly and bulky.
Robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgeries have advantages in providing a 3-dimensional visualization of the operative field, decreasing fatigue and tension tremor of the surgeon, and added wrist motion for improved dexterity and greater surgical precision. The disadvantages include enormous cost and added operating time for assembly and disassembly and the bulkiness of the equipment.
PMCID: PMC3015696  PMID: 17212887
da Vinci robot; Robotic-assisted laparoscopy
3.  Robotically Assisted Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Hepaticojejunostomy 
This study evaluates the feasibility and safety of using robotically assisted laparoscopy to perform a Roux-en-Y hepaticojejunostomy. This new method was compared with the open and standard laparoscopic approaches.
Eighteen pigs underwent a needlescopic common bile duct ligation to create a jaundice model. Three to 5 days later, transabdominal ultrasound was performed, and the common bile duct diameter was documented. For the Roux-en-Y hepaticojejunostomy, the pigs were randomly assigned to the open group (n=6), standard laparoscopy group (n=6), or robotically assisted laparoscopy group (Zeus) (n=6). One surgeon performed all 3 approaches with 1 assistant. Operative times, techniques, and complication rates were documented.
The open approach was faster in all instances. At the hepaticojejunostomy, no difference was noted between the groups with the total number of stitches used. The robot required fewer stitches and less time in the posterior wall of the hepaticojejunostomy (P=0.0083 and P=0.02049, respectively). The hepaticojejunostomy time was similar for the laparoscopy and robotically assisted groups.
Robotically assisted laparoscopic Roux-en-Y hepaticojejunostomy is a feasible procedure. When compared with standard laparoscopy, operating time is similar.
PMCID: PMC3016811  PMID: 15347111
Roux-en-Y hepaticojejunostomy; Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y hepaticojejunostomy; Robotically assisted hepaticojejunostomy
4.  Robot-Assisted vs. Conventional Laparoscopic Rectopexy for Rectal Prolapse: A Comparative Study on Costs and Time 
Diseases of the Colon and Rectum  2007;50(11):1825-1830.
Laparoscopic rectopexy has become one of the most advocated treatments for full-thickness rectal prolapse, offering good functional results compared with open surgery and resulting in less postoperative pain and faster convalescence. However, laparoscopic rectopexy can be technically demanding. Once having mastered dexterity, with robotic assistance, laparoscopic rectopexy can be performed faster. Moreover, it shortens the learning curve in simple laparoscopic tasks. This may lead to faster and safer laparoscopic surgery. Robot-assisted rectopexy has been proven safe and feasible; however, until now, no study has been performed comparing costs and time consumption in conventional laparoscopic rectopexy vs. robot-assisted rectopexy.
Our first 14 cases of robot-assisted laparoscopic rectopexy were reviewed and compared with 19 patients who underwent conventional laparoscopic rectopexy in the same period.
Robot-assisted laparoscopic rectopexy did not show more complications. However, the average operating time was 39 minutes longer, and costs were -57.29 (or: $745.09) higher.
Robot-assisted laparoscopic rectopexy is a safe and feasible procedure but results in increased time and higher costs than conventional laparoscopy.
PMCID: PMC2071956  PMID: 17690936
Laparoscopic; Laparoscopy; Robot; Robotic; Rectal; Procidentia; Prolapse; Surgery; Rectopexy; Wells; D’Hoore
5.  Performance curve of basic skills in single-incision laparoscopy versus conventional laparoscopy: Is it really more difficult for the novice? 
Surgical Endoscopy  2011;26(5):1231-1237.
Single-incision laparoscopy is a step forward toward nearly scarless surgery. Concern has been raised that single-incision laparoscopy is technically more challenging than conventional laparoscopy. This study researched the performance curves of novice trainees for single-incision laparoscopy (SILS) versus conventional laparoscopy for performing two basic tasks on a box trainer.
In this study, 20 novice participants performed two tasks (peg transfer and a dissection task) on a standard box trainer. All the participants practiced each task 11 times and were randomized in two groups. The first group performed the tasks on a box trainer through three incisions. The second group used a single-incision access with the same box trainer. The assessment scores for errors and time were recorded. The 2nd, 8th, and 11th runs of both tasks in both settings were assessed to objectify the gain in basic laparoscopic skills.
The performance curves for both groups improved significantly in terms of both time and errors in performing the two tasks [P < 0.01, analysis of variance (ANOVA)]. For the first task, no significant difference in time between the two groups was observed at the top of the performance curve (mean, 212 ± 64 vs. 182 ± 48 s), but the SILS group performed with fewer errors (1.3 ± 1.5 vs. 2.7 ± 2.11). However, the difference was not significant (P = 0.10). The dissection task was performed faster in the SILS group (mean, 205 ± 78 vs. 243 ± 40 s; P = 0, 18) with fewer errors (0.7 ± 1.05 vs. 1.9 ± 2.1; P = 0. 12), but the difference was not significant.
This study showed a significant improvement in basic skills for both the SILS and conventional laparoscopy settings after 11 repetitions. These data suggest that box training shows no significant difference between conventional laparoscopic and single-incision laparoscopic settings in terms of error or time in performing basic tasks at a low complexity level for the novice. These data also show significant improvement in basic skills over a relatively short period.
PMCID: PMC3327835  PMID: 22101419
G-I; Human/robotic; Training/courses; Surgical
6.  Effects of Visual Force Feedback on Robot-Assisted Surgical Task Performance 
Direct haptic (force or tactile) feedback is negligible in current surgical robotic systems. The relevance of haptic feedback in robot-assisted performances of surgical tasks is controversial. We studied the effects of visual force feedback (VFF), a haptic feedback surrogate, on tying surgical knots with fine sutures similar to those used in cardiovascular surgery.
Using a modified da Vinci robotic system (Intuitive Surgical, Inc.) equipped with force-sensing instrument tips and real-time VFF overlays in the console image, ten surgeons each tied 10 knots with and 10 knots without VFF. Four surgeons had significant prior da Vinci experience while the remaining six surgeons did not. Performance parameters, including suture breakage and secure knots, peak and standard deviation of applied forces, and completion times using 5-0 silk sutures were recorded. Chi-square and Student’s t-test analyses determined differences between groups.
Among surgeon subjects with robotic experience, no differences in measured performance parameters were found between robot-assisted knot ties executed with and without VFF. Among surgeons without robotic experience, however, VFF was associated with lower suture breakage rates, peak applied forces, and standard deviations of applied forces. VFF did not impart differences in knot completion times or loose knots for either surgeon group.
VFF resulted in reduced suture breakage, lower forces, and decreased force inconsistencies among novice robotic surgeons, although elapsed time and knot quality were unaffected. In contrast, VFF did not affect these metrics among experienced da Vinci surgeons. These results suggest that VFF primarily benefits novice robot-assisted surgeons, with diminishing benefits among experienced surgeons.
PMCID: PMC2674617  PMID: 18179942
Robotic Surgery; Minimally Invasive; Cardiac; Force Feedback; Haptics
7.  Total Laparoscopic Hysterectomy Utilizing a Robotic Surgical System 
To describe the use of a robotic surgical system for total laparoscopic hysterectomy.
We report a series of laparoscopic hysterectomies performed using the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System. Participants were women eligible for hysterectomy by standard laparoscopy. Operative times and complications are reported.
We completed 10 total laparoscopic hysterectomies between November 2001 and December 2002 with the use of the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System. Operative results were similar to those of standard laparoscopic hysterectomy. Operative time varied from 2 hours 28 minutes to 4 hours 37 minutes. Blood loss varied from 25 mL to 350 mL. Uterine weights varied from 49 g to 227 g. A cystotomy occurred in a patient with a history of a prior cystotomy unrelated to the robotic system.
Total laparoscopic hysterectomy is a complex surgical procedure requiring advanced laparoscopic skills. Tasks like lysis of adhesions, suturing, and knot tying were enhanced with the robotic surgical system, thus providing unique advantages over existing standard laparoscopy. Total laparoscopic hysterectomy can be performed using robotic surgical systems.
PMCID: PMC3015554  PMID: 15791963
Laparoscopy; Hysterectomy; Robotics
8.  Open core control software for surgical robots 
In these days, patients and doctors in operation room are surrounded by many medical devices as resulting from recent advancement of medical technology. However, these cutting-edge medical devices are working independently and not collaborating with each other, even though the collaborations between these devices such as navigation systems and medical imaging devices are becoming very important for accomplishing complex surgical tasks (such as a tumor removal procedure while checking the tumor location in neurosurgery). On the other hand, several surgical robots have been commercialized, and are becoming common. However, these surgical robots are not open for collaborations with external medical devices in these days. A cutting-edge “intelligent surgical robot” will be possible in collaborating with surgical robots, various kinds of sensors, navigation system and so on. On the other hand, most of the academic software developments for surgical robots are “home-made” in their research institutions and not open to the public. Therefore, open source control software for surgical robots can be beneficial in this field. From these perspectives, we developed Open Core Control software for surgical robots to overcome these challenges.
Materials and methods
In general, control softwares have hardware dependencies based on actuators, sensors and various kinds of internal devices. Therefore, these control softwares cannot be used on different types of robots without modifications. However, the structure of the Open Core Control software can be reused for various types of robots by abstracting hardware dependent parts. In addition, network connectivity is crucial for collaboration between advanced medical devices. The OpenIGTLink is adopted in Interface class which plays a role to communicate with external medical devices. At the same time, it is essential to maintain the stable operation within the asynchronous data transactions through network. In the Open Core Control software, several techniques for this purpose were introduced. Virtual fixture is well known technique as a “force guide” for supporting operators to perform precise manipulation by using a master–slave robot. The virtual fixture for precise and safety surgery was implemented on the system to demonstrate an idea of high-level collaboration between a surgical robot and a navigation system. The extension of virtual fixture is not a part of the Open Core Control system, however, the function such as virtual fixture cannot be realized without a tight collaboration between cutting-edge medical devices. By using the virtual fixture, operators can pre-define an accessible area on the navigation system, and the area information can be transferred to the robot. In this manner, the surgical console generates the reflection force when the operator tries to get out from the pre-defined accessible area during surgery.
The Open Core Control software was implemented on a surgical master–slave robot and stable operation was observed in a motion test. The tip of the surgical robot was displayed on a navigation system by connecting the surgical robot with a 3D position sensor through the OpenIGTLink. The accessible area was pre-defined before the operation, and the virtual fixture was displayed as a “force guide” on the surgical console. In addition, the system showed stable performance in a duration test with network disturbance.
In this paper, a design of the Open Core Control software for surgical robots and the implementation of virtual fixture were described. The Open Core Control software was implemented on a surgical robot system and showed stable performance in high-level collaboration works. The Open Core Control software is developed to be a widely used platform of surgical robots. Safety issues are essential for control software of these complex medical devices. It is important to follow the global specifications such as a FDA requirement “General Principles of Software Validation” or IEC62304. For following these regulations, it is important to develop a self-test environment. Therefore, a test environment is now under development to test various interference in operation room such as a noise of electric knife by considering safety and test environment regulations such as ISO13849 and IEC60508. The Open Core Control software is currently being developed software in open-source manner and available on the Internet. A communization of software interface is becoming a major trend in this field. Based on this perspective, the Open Core Control software can be expected to bring contributions in this field.
PMCID: PMC2925237  PMID: 20033506
Surgical robot; Open source software; Virtual fixture
9.  Robotic Surgery for Cervical Cancer 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2008;49(6):879-885.
The development of robotic technology has facilitated the application of minimally invasive techniques for the treatment and evaluation of patients with early, advanced, and recurrent cervical cancer. The application of robotic technology for selected patients with cervical cancer and the data available in the literature are addressed in the present review paper. The robotic radical hysterectomy technique developed at the Mayo Clinic Arizona is presented with data comparing 27 patients who underwent the robotic procedure with 2 matched groups of patients treated by laparoscopic (N = 31), and laparotomic radical hysterectomy (N = 35). A few other studies confirmed the feasibility and safety of robotic radical hysterectomy and comparisons to either to the laparoscopic or open approach were discussed. Based on data from the literature, minimally invasive techniques including laparoscopy and robotics are preferable to laparotomy for patients requiring radical hysterectomy, with some advantages noted for robotics over laparoscopy. A prospective randomised trial is currently being perfomred under the auspices of the American Association of Gyneoclogic Laparoscopists comparing minimally invasive radical hysterectomy (laparoscopy or robotics) with laparotomy. For early cervical cancer radical parametrectomy and fertility preserving trachelectomy have been performed using robotic technology and been shown to be feasible, safe, and easier to perform when compared to the laparoscopic approach. Similar benefits have been noted in the treatment of advanced and recurrent cervical cancer where complex procedures such as extraperitoneal paraortic lymphadenectomy and pelvic exenteration have been required. Conclusion: Robotic technology better facilitates the surgical approach as compared to laparoscopy for technically challenging operations performed to treat primary, early or advanced, and recurrent cervical cancer. Although patient advantages are similar or slightly improved with robotics, there are multiple advantages for surgeons.
PMCID: PMC2628040  PMID: 19108008
Cervical cancer; treatment; minimally invasive surgery; robotic surgery
10.  The technique of robotic assisted laparoscopic surgery in gynaecology, its introduction into the clinical routine of a gynaecological department and the analysis of the perioperative courses - a German experience 
Robotic assisted surgery is an advancement on conventional laparoscopy. The first and single FDA-approved device is the da-Vinci™ system, which provides means to overcome the limitations of conventional laparoscopy. In Germany the use of the robotic system in gynaecology is at the threshold of a promising development. There is a wide spectrum of indications, such as simple and radical hysterectomies, including pelvic and paraaortic lymph node dissection. The introduction of the robotic system into the clinical routine is demonstrated.
Material and Methods
Robotic assisted laparoscopic interventions have been performed in the reporting hospital since April 2008. In the course of treatment of 172 cases, an increasing rise of complexity of surgical procedure has been achieved. The daVinci™ system is well adaptable in clinical routine. Hitherto, the clinical outcome has been favourable, higher-grade specific complications occurred very rarely. The short time advantages are a decrease of postoperative length of stay, a reduction of postinterventional need of analgetics and an overall accelerated period of recovery has been demonstrated compared to conventional abdominal procedures. It also shows that a drastic decrease of open conventional abdominal procedures concerning uterine pathologies appeared in the reporting department.
Perioperative advantages of robotic assisted laparoscopic interventions are, above all, the decrease of morbidity (concerning blood loss, need of analgetics, length of stay, etc.). Surgical advantages are the more complex applicability, improved precision, dexterity and vision (3D), a greater autonomy of the surgeon, a smaller learning curve and an increase of preparation consistent with the anatomical structures. In contrast, disadvantages concern an initial greater time investment, the potentially different management of complications, the limited applicability in multiquadrant surgery and the difficulty regarding cost coverage respective to recovery.
In conclusion, robotic assisted minimal invasive surgery has an enormous potential in gynaecology; by simplifying the essential surgical procedure. The advantages of this technique will be approachability for a majority of gynaecological patients. The feasibility of a multitude of gynaecological surgical interventions has already been approved partially in a small number of cases. The upcoming challenge now is to verify the short and long term advantages of robotic surgery in prospective trials, especially concerning gynaecological oncology.
PMCID: PMC3939114  PMID: 24591970
Robotic surgery; gynaecology; daVinci technique; oncological gynaecology
11.  Endoscopic Management of Adnexal Masses 
This study is based on the laparoscopic treatment of 1,225 patients with ovarian cysts and 165 patients with ovarian malignancy by outstanding pioneers in laparoscopic gynecology. It crystallizes their extensive experience with adnexal masses and provides reasoned conclusions for the management of these diseases. The principles set forth merit attention by all practitioners of minimally invasive surgery.
The laparoscopic management of suspicious adnexal masses and early ovarian malignancies is discussed with the aim of maintaining accepted oncologic treatment principles. Comparative survival data of patients with gynecological malignancies managed by laparoscopy or laparotomy are still very scarce and the survival of cancer patients must not be compromised by new techniques. It is time to closely analyze laparoscopy and determine if it has a positive impact on the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian malignancies. In this paper we will address the following points: 1) Which ovarian cysts can be surgically treated by laparoscopy (pelviscopy)?2) Is staging laparoscopy an accepted technique?3) Is laparoscopy, as a second-look procedure, of benefit?4) Is laparoscopic staging, together with histologic tissue sampling, adequate surgical technique in inoperable ovarian cancer with ascites and peritoneal carcinomatosis?5) Does endoscopic biopsy of ovarian cancer stage Ia change the destiny of a patient into ovarian cancer Ic?
Data Base:
The above questions are analyzed based on our experience with the laparoscopic treatment of 1,225 patients with ovarian cysts and 165 ovarian cancer patients stage I to IV treated immediately by laparotomy during the years 1992-1995.
Ovarian cystic tumors with no signs of malignancy can be dealt with by laparoscopic means with the option of immediate conversion to laparotomy or within one week if an ovarian malignancy is diagnosed. Today sampling laparoscopic lymphadenectomy of both pelvic and para-aortic is feasible and adequate. On a curative level, the number of lymph nodes to be resected has yet to be determined. The adnexa can be extracted from the abdominal cavity with bag extraction without the danger of spillage. The uterus can be removed transvaginally with laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy (LAVH). We must be cautious to advocate laparoscopy for ovarian cancer. However, it is an excellent tool when used as a staging procedure. A careful preoperative screening of the patient and an exact definition of existing cysts with imaging techniques allows us to frequently apply laparoscopic surgery for ovarian cysts, leaving only readily detectable cancer cases for laparotomy. Many gynecological oncologists employing staging and second-look procedures for ovarian cancer agree that initiating a case with laparoscopy may preclude laparotomy for many patients. Tumor propagation by performing a biopsy in FIGO stage Ia ovarian cancer patients does not occur if the patient receives adequate radical surgical treatment within one week. According to the reports of Sevelda et al. and Dembo et al., the degree of differentiation and the existence of ascites are more relevant to decreasing the five-year survival rate of patients with ovarian cancer stage I than the rupture of capsule or penetration of the tumor.16,17A dependency on the first two parameters was found in these two large statistical studies.
As the question of endoscopic operations for adnexal mass is predominantly put for the sanitation of small ovarian tumors (ovarian tumors with solid particles in the cysts can be put into the section of primary laparotomies) there remains a wide field of indications for the laparoscopic treatment of adnexal mass and ovarian cysts with benign indications. For many young patients with non-malignant ovarian lesions such as endometriosis, benign cysts, benign cystic proliferations and fibromas, a laparotomy can be avoided and these lesions treated by laparoscopy.
PMCID: PMC3021262  PMID: 9876656
Laparoscopy; Adnexal mass; Ovarian malignancy; Second-look laparoscopy
12.  Robotic right colectomy for hemorrhagic right colon cancer: a case report and review of the literature of minimally invasive urgent colectomy 
Right colon cancer rarely presents as an emergency, in which bowel occlusion and massive bleeding are the most common clinical presentations. Although there are no definite guidelines, the first line treatment for massive right colon cancer bleeding should ideally stop the bleeding using endoscopy or interventional radiology, subsequently allowing proper tumor staging and planning of a definite treatment strategy. Minimally invasive approaches for right and left colectomy have progressively increased and are widely performed in elective settings, with laparoscopy chosen in the majority of cases. Conversely, in emergent and urgent surgeries, minimally invasive techniques are rarely performed. We report a case of an 86-year-old woman who was successfully treated for massive rectal bleeding in an urgent setting by robotic surgery (da Vinci Intuitive Surgical System®). At admission, the patient had severe anemia (Hb 6 g/dL) and hemodynamic stability. A computer tomography scanner with contrast enhancement showed a right colon cancer with active bleeding; no distant metastases were found. A colonoscopy did not show any other bowel lesion, while a constant bleeding from the right pre-stenotic colon mass was temporarily arrested by endoscopic argon coagulation. A robotic right colectomy in urgent setting (within 24 hours from admission) was indicated. A three-armed robot was used with docking in the right side of the patient and a fourth trocar for the assistant surgeon. Because of the patient’s poor nutritional status, a double-barreled ileocolostomy was performed. The post-operative period was uneventful. As the neoplasia was a pT3N0 adenocarcinoma, surveillance was decided after a multidisciplinary meeting, and restoration of the intestinal continuity was performed 3 months later, once good nutritional status was achieved. In addition, we reviewed the current literature on minimally invasive colectomy performed for colon carcinoma in emergent or urgent setting. No study on robotic approach was found. Seven studies evaluating the role of laparoscopic colectomy concluded that this technique is a safe and feasible option associated with lower blood loss and shorter hospital stay. It may require longer operative time, but morbidity and mortality rates appeared comparable to open colectomy. However, the surgeon’s experience and the right selection of candidate patients cannot be understated.
PMCID: PMC4005854  PMID: 24791165
Hemorrhagic colon cancer; Robotic surgery; Laparoscopic surgery; Emergency surgery; Minimally invasive surgery; Review
13.  The Use of Robot-Assisted Laparoscopic Hysterectomy in the Patient With a Scarred or Obliterated Anterior Cul-de-sac 
The scarred or obliterated anterior cul-de-sac may pose a challenge to hysterectomy by any route. Conventional laparoscopic hysterectomy is fraught with technical limitations that limit the ability to compensate for the altered anatomy. This study will evaluate the feasibility of applying robot-assisted laparoscopy to managing these patients.
Six patients with suspected pelvic adhesive disease involving the anterior cul-de-sac underwent robot-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy for benign indications. Data were collected and analyzed as a retrospective case series analysis.
We attempted 6 robot-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomies with no conversions to laparotomy. The mean uterine weight was 121.7g (range, 70 to 166.3). Mean operating time was 254 minutes (range, 170 to 368). The average estimated blood loss was 87.5 mL. One patient developed a delayed vaginal cuff hematoma. The average length of hospital stay was 1.3 days.
Robot-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy is a feasible technique in patients with a scarred or obliterated anterior cul-de-sac and may provide a tool to overcome the surgical limitations seen with conventional laparoscopy.
PMCID: PMC3015598  PMID: 16121873
Robot-assisted laparoscopy; Laparoscopic hysterectomy; Pelvic adhesions; Surgical technique
14.  Comparison of Surgical Outcomes between Robotic and Laparoscopic Gastrectomy for Gastric Cancer: The Learning Curve of Robotic Surgery 
Journal of Gastric Cancer  2012;12(3):156-163.
Laparoscopic gastrectomy is a widely accepted surgical technique. Recently, robotic gastrectomy has been developed, as an alternative minimally invasive surgical technique. This study aimed to evaluate the question of whether robotic gastrectomy is feasible and safe for the treatment of gastric cancer, due to its learning curve.
Materials and Methods
We retrospectively reviewed the prospectively collected data of 100 consecutive robotic gastrectomy patients, from November 2008 to March 2011, and compared them to 282 conventional laparoscopy patients during the same period. The robotic gastrectomy patients were divided into 20 initial cases; and all subsequent cases; and we compared the clinicopathological features, operating times, and surgical outcomes between the three groups.
The initial 20 robotic gastrectomy cases were defined as the initial group, due to the learning curve. The initial group had a longer average operating time (242.25±74.54 minutes vs. 192.56±39.56 minutes, P>0.001), and hospital stay (14.40±24.93 days vs. 8.66±5.39 days, P=0.001) than the experienced group. The length of hospital stay was no different between the experienced group, and the laproscopic gastrectomy group (8.66±5.39 days vs. 8.11±4.10 days, P=0.001). The average blood loss was significantly less for the robotic gastrectomy groups, than for the laparoscopic gastrectomy group (93.25±84.59 ml vs. 173.45±145.19 ml, P<0.001), but the complication rates were no different.
Our study shows that robotic gastrectomy is a safe and feasible procedure, especially after the 20 initial cases, and provides a satisfactory postoperative outcome.
PMCID: PMC3473222  PMID: 23094227
Robotic; Laparoscopy; Compared; Gastrectomy; Learning curve
15.  Robotic Surgery in Gynecologic Field 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2008;49(6):886-890.
Operative laparoscopy was initially developed in the field of gynecology earlier on and the advent of laparoscopic surgery led to advances in general surgery as well. In the last few years, a number of articles have been published on the performance of surgical procedures using the robot-assisted laparoscopy. The shortcomings of conventional laparoscopy have led to the development of robotic surgical system and future of telerobotic surgery is not far away, enabling a surgeon to operate at a distance from the operating table. The complete loss of tactile sensation is often quoted as a big disadvantage of working with robotic systems. Although the first generation da Vinci robotic surgical system provides improved imaging and instrumentation, the absence of tactile feedback and the high cost of the technology remain as limitations. New generations of the robotic surgical systems have been developed, allowing visualization of preoperative imaging during the operation. Though the introduction of robotics is very recent, the potential for robotics in several specialties is significant. However, the benefit to patients must be carefully evaluated and proven before this technology can become widely accepted in the gynecologic surgery.
PMCID: PMC2628037  PMID: 19108009
Robotics; uterine cervical neoplasm; hysterectomy
16.  Computer-Assisted Hip and Knee Arthroplasty. Navigation and Active Robotic Systems 
Executive Summary
The Medical Advisory Secretariat undertook a review of the evidence on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of computer assisted hip and knee arthroplasty. The two computer assisted arthroplasty systems that are the topics of this review are (1) navigation and (2) robotic-assisted hip and knee arthroplasty.
The Technology
Computer-assisted arthroplasty consists of navigation and robotic systems.
Surgical navigation is a visualization system that provides positional information about surgical tools or implants relative to a target bone on a computer display. Most of the navigation-assisted arthroplasty devices that are the subject of this review are licensed by Health Canada.
Robotic systems are active robots that mill bone according to information from a computer-assisted navigation system. The robotic-assisted arthroplasty devices that are the subject of this review are not currently licensed by Health Canada.
Review Strategy
The Cochrane and International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment databases did not identify any health technology assessments on navigation or robotic-assisted hip or knee arthroplasty. The MEDLINE and EMBASE databases were searched for articles published between January 1, 1996 and November 30, 2003. This search produced 367 studies, of which 9 met the inclusion criteria.
Summary of Findings
Navigation-Assisted Arthroplasty
Five studies were identified that examined navigation-assisted arthroplasty.
A Level 1 evidence study from Germany found a statistically significant difference in alignment and angular deviation between navigation-assisted and free-hand total knee arthroplasty in favour of navigation-assisted surgery. However, the endpoints in this study were short-term. To date, the long-term effects (need for revision, implant longevity, pain, functional performance) are unknown.(1)
A Level 2 evidence short-term study found that navigation-assisted total knee arthroplasty was significantly better than a non-navigated procedure for one of five postoperative measured angles.(2)
A Level 2 evidence short-term study found no statistically significant difference in the variation of the abduction angle between navigation-assisted and conventional total hip arthroplasty.(3)
Level 3 evidence observational studies of navigation-assisted total knee arthroplasty and unicompartmental knee arthroplasty have been conducted. Two studies reported that “the follow-up of the navigated prostheses is currently too short to know if clinical outcome or survival rates are improved. Longer follow-up is required to determine the respective advantages and disadvantages of both techniques.”(4;5)
Robotic-Assisted Arthroplasty
Four studies were identified that examined robotic-assisted arthroplasty.
A Level 1 evidence study revealed that there was no statistically significant difference between functional hip scores at 24 months post implantation between patients who underwent robotic-assisted primary hip arthroplasty and those that were treated with manual implantation.(6)
Robotic-assisted arthroplasty had advantages in terms of preoperative planning and the accuracy of the intraoperative procedure.(6)
Patients who underwent robotic-assisted hip arthroplasty had a higher dislocation rate and more revisions.(6)
Robotic-assisted arthroplasty may prove effective with certain prostheses (e.g., anatomic) because their use may result in less muscle detachment.(6)
An observational study (Level 3 evidence) found that the incidence of severe embolic events during hip relocation was lower with robotic arthroplasty than with manual surgery.(7)
An observational study (Level 3 evidence) found that there was no significant difference in gait analyses of patients who underwent robotic-assisted total hip arthroplasty using robotic surgery compared to patients who were treated with conventional cementless total hip arthroplasty.(8)
An observational study (Level 3 evidence) compared outcomes of total knee arthroplasty between patients undergoing robotic surgery and patients who were historical controls. Brief, qualitative results suggested that there was much broader variation of angles after manual total knee arthroplasty compared to the robotic technique and that there was no difference in knee functional scores or implant position at the 3 and 6 month follow-up.(9)
PMCID: PMC3387774  PMID: 23074452
17.  Defining the Pros and Cons of Open, Conventional Laparoscopy, and Robot-Assisted Pyeloplasty in a Developing Nation 
Advances in Urology  2014;2014:850156.
Introduction. Congenital pelviureteric junction obstruction (PUJO) is one of the most common causes of hydronephrosis. Historically, open dismembered pyeloplasty has been considered the gold standard intervention for correcting PUJO. The aim of this study was to compare the surgical and functional outcomes of three different approaches, namely, open, conventional laparoscopy, and robotic pyeloplasty. Material and Methods. 60 patients underwent minimally invasive pyeloplasty (30 conventional laparoscopies and 30 robotics) for congenital PUJO at a tertiary health center in India. Demographic, perioperative, and postoperative data were prospectively collected and analyzed. The data of these patients were retrospectively compared with another cohort of 30 patients who had undergone open pyeloplasty. Results. There was significant difference in operative time, time to drain removal, hospital stay, pain score, and complications rate between open and minimally invasive pyeloplasty (P < 0.05). SFI was considerably lesser in robotic as compared to conventional laparoscopy. The success rate in OP, CLP, and RP was 93.33, 96.67, and 96.67%. Conclusion. Robotic pyeloplasty is safe, effective, and feasible. It is associated with significantly lesser operative time, lesser blood loss, less pain, shorter hospital stay, and fewer complications. It is also associated with considerably lesser surgeon fatigue as compared to conventional laparoscopy pyeloplasty.
PMCID: PMC3929287  PMID: 24624138
18.  Achieving proficiency with robot-assisted radical prostatectomy: Laparoscopic-trained versus robotics-trained surgeons 
Canadian Urological Association Journal  2013;7(11-12):E711-E715.
Initiating a robotics program is complex, in regards to achieving favourable outcomes, effectively utilizing an expensive surgical tool, and granting console privileges to surgeons. We report the implementation of a community-based robotics program among minimally-invasive surgery (MIS) urologists with and without formal robotics training.
From August 2008 to December 2010 at Kaiser Permanente Southern California, 2 groups of urologists performing robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) were followed since the time of robot acquisition at a single institution. The robotics group included 4 surgeons with formal robotics training and the laparoscopic group with another 4 surgeons who were robot-naïve, but skilled in laparoscopy. The laparoscopic group underwent an initial 7-day mentorship period. Surgical proficiency was measured by various operative and pathological outcome variables. Data were evaluated using comparative statistics and multivariate analysis.
A total of 420 and 549 RARPs were performed by the robotics and laparoscopic groups, respectively. Operative times were longer in the laparoscopic group (p = 0.002), but estimated blood loss was similar. The robotics group had a significantly better overall positive surgical margin rate of 19.9% compared to the laparoscopic group (27.8%) (p = 0.005). Both groups showed improvements in operative and pathological parameters as they accrued experience, and achieved similar results towards the end of the study.
Robot-naïve laparoscopic surgeons may achieve similar outcomes to robotic surgeons relatively early after a graduated mentorship period. This study may apply to a community-based practice in which multiple urologists with varied training backgrounds are granted robot privileges.
PMCID: PMC3840530  PMID: 24282463
19.  Do Basic Psychomotor Skills Transfer Between Different Image-based Procedures? 
World Journal of Surgery  2010;34(5):933-940.
Surgical techniques that draw from multiple types of image-based procedures (IBP) are increasing, such as Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery, fusing laparoscopy and flexible endoscopy. However, little is known about the relation between psychomotor skills for performing different types of IBP. For example, do basic psychomotor colonoscopy and laparoscopy skills interact?
Following a cross-over study design, 29 naïve endoscopists were trained on the Simbionix GI Mentor and the SimSurgery SEP simulators. Group C (n = 15) commenced with a laparoscopy session, followed by four colonoscopy sessions and a second laparoscopy session. Group L (n = 14) started with a colonoscopy session, followed by four laparoscopy sessions and a second colonoscopy session.
No significant differences were found between the performances of group L and group C in their first training sessions on either technique. With additional colonoscopy training, group C outperformed group L in the second laparoscopy training session on the camera navigation task.
Overall, training in the basic colonoscopy tasks does not affect performance of basic laparoscopy tasks (and vice versa). However, to limited extent, training of basic psychomotor skills for colonoscopy do appear to contribute to the performance of angled laparoscope navigation tasks. Thus, training and assessment of IBP type-specific skills should focus on each type of tasks independently. Future research should further investigate the influence of psychometric abilities on the performance of IBP and the transfer of skills for physicians who are experienced in one IBP type and would like to become proficient in another type of IBP.
PMCID: PMC2848730  PMID: 20151134
20.  Robotic versus conventional laparoscopic pyeloplasty: A single surgeon concurrent cohort review 
The increasing availability of robotic devices has led to an increase in their use for procedures such as pyeloplasty, which have been conventionally performed laparoscopically or through open surgery. We perform both laparoscopic and robotic-assisted pyeloplasty routinely and have compared these techniques in a set of concurrent cohorts, operated by the same surgeon.
Materials and Methods:
A chart review was performed of all cases of Robot-assisted laparoscopic pyeloplasty (RALP) and conventional laparoscopic pyeloplasty (CLP) performed by a single surgeon, from September 2006 to July 2010. The choice of procedure depended upon the availability of the robot on the given day. A lateral transperitoneal approach was used in all cases. All anastomoses were stented antegrade. A diuretic renogram was obtained in all patients between six to twelve weeks after stent removal. Success was defined as a resolution of symptoms with non-obstructive outflow on the renogram.
Thirty patients underwent 31 laparoscopic pyeloplasties (20 RALPs and 11 CLPs), with one patient undergoing bilateral simultaneous robotic procedures. The robotic procedures were superior in terms of shorter operating time by 20 minutes on an average. Furthermore, 35% of the robotic procedures were performed in under 90 minutes, while the minimum time taken for laparoscopy was 110 minutes. All procedures in both cohorts were successful with no complications in either group. The surgeon recorded subjective ergonomic benefits with the use of the robot.
Robotic assistance helps decrease the operative time for laparoscopic pyeloplasty. It seems ergonomically superior for the surgeon, allowing multiple procedures in the same list. These may be important benefits in busy centers.
PMCID: PMC3649593  PMID: 23671359
Laparoscopy; pyeloplasty; robot; Ureteropelvic junction obstruction
21.  Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Gynecologic Procedures in a Fellowship Training Program 
An early evaluation of the feasibility of training fellows in robotic surgery suggests that it is feasible to incorporate a systematic approach to robotic-assisted laparoscopic training at the onset of incorporating this technology into current practice.
Background and Objective:
The robotic surgical platform is an alternative technique to traditional laparoscopy and requires the development of new surgical skills for both the experienced surgeon and trainee. Our goal was to perform an early evaluation of the feasibility of training fellows in robotic-assisted gynecologic procedures at the outset of our incorporation of this technology into clinical practice.
A systematic approach to fellow training included (1) didactic and hands-on training with the robotic system, (2) instructional videos, (3) assistance at the operating table, and (4) performance of segments of gynecologic procedures in tandem with the attending physician. Time to complete the entire procedure, individual segments, rate of conversion to laparotomy, and complications were recorded.
Twenty-one robotic-assisted gynecologic procedures were performed from April 2006 to January 2007. Fellows participated as the console surgeon in 14/21 cases. Thirteen patients (62%) had prior abdominal surgery. Median values with ranges were age 51 years (range, 33 to 90); BMI 28 (range, 19.4 to 43.8); EBL 25 mL (range, 25 to 250); and hospital stay 1 day (range, 1 to 4). No significant difference existed between fellow and attending mean total operative and individual segment times. One conversion to laparotomy was necessary. No major surgical complications occurred.
These data suggest that it is feasible to incorporate a systematic approach to robotic-assisted laparoscopic training for trainees at the outset of incorporation of this technology into current practice.
PMCID: PMC3030777  PMID: 20202385
Robotics; Laparoscopic surgery; Education; Gynecology
22.  Current Status of Robotic Surgery 
The Indian Journal of Surgery  2012;74(3):242-247.
Surgery has increasingly become a technology-driven specialty. Robotic assistance is considered one innovation within abdominal surgery over the past decade that has the potential to compensate for the drawbacks of conventional laparoscopy. The dramatic evolution of robotic surgery over the past 10 years is likely to be eclipsed by even greater advances over the next decade. We review the current status of robotic technology in surgery. The Medline database was searched for the terms “robotic surgery, telesurgery, and laparoscopy.” A total of 2,496 references were found. All references were considered for information on robotic surgery in advanced laparoscopy. Further references were obtained through cross-referencing the bibliography cited in each work. There is a paucity of control studies on a sufficient number of subjects in robot-assisted surgeries in all fields. Studies that meet more stringent clinical trials criteria show that robot-assisted surgery appears comparable to traditional surgery in terms of feasibility and outcomes but that costs associated with robot-assisted surgery are higher because of longer operating times and expense of equipment. While a limited number of studies on the da Vinci robotic system have proven the benefit of this approach in regard to patient outcomes, including significantly reduced blood loss, lower percentage of postoperative complications, and shorter hospital stays, there are mechanical and institutional risks that must be more fully addressed. Robotic assistance will remain an intensively discussed subject since clinical benefits for most procedures have not yet been proven. While the benefit still remains open to discussion, robotic systems are spreading and are available worldwide in tertiary centers.
PMCID: PMC3397190  PMID: 23730051
Robotic surgery; Laparoscopy; Minimally invasive surgery
23.  Reverse-Hybrid Robotic Mesorectal Excision for Rectal Cancer 
Diseases of the colon and rectum  2012;55(2):228-233.
The robotic system offers potential technical advantages over laparoscopy for total mesorectal excision with radical lymphadenectomy for rectal cancer. However, the requirement for fixed docking limits its utility when the working volume is large or patient repositioning is required. The purpose of this study was to evaluate short-term outcomes associated with a novel setup to perform total mesorectal excision and radical lymphadenectomy for rectal cancer by the use of a “reverse” hybrid robotic-laparoscopic approach.
This is a prospective consecutive cohort observational study of patients who underwent robotic rectal cancer resection from January 2009 to March 2011. During the study period a technique of reverse-hybrid robotic-laparoscopic rectal resection with radical lymphadenectomy was developed. This technique involves reversal of the operative sequence with lymphovascular and rectal dissection to precede proximal colonic mobilization. This technique evolved from a conventional hybrid resection with laparoscopic vascular control, colonic mobilization, and robotic pelvic dissection. Perioperative, and short-term oncologic outcomes were analyzed.
Thirty patients underwent reverse-hybrid resection. Median tumor location was 5 cm (interquartile range 3-9) from the anal verge. Median BMI was 27.6 (interquartile range 25.0-32.1 kg/m2). Twenty (66.7%) received neoadjuvant chemoradiation. There were no conversions. Median blood loss was 100 mL (interquartile range 75-200). Total operation time was a median 369 (interquartile range 306-410) minutes. Median docking time was 6 (interquartile range 5-8) minutes and console time was 98 (interquartile range 88-140) minutes. Resection was R0 in all patients with no patients had an incomplete mesorectal resection. Six patients (20%) underwent extended lymph node dissection or en bloc resection.
Reverse-hybrid robotic surgery for rectal cancer maximizes the therapeutic applicability of the robotic and conventional laparoscopic techniques for optimized application in minimally invasive rectal surgery.
PMCID: PMC3546550  PMID: 22228169
Robotic surgery; Rectal cancer; Laparoscopy
24.  Preliminary Experience With Robot-Assisted Laparoscopic Staging of Gynecologic Malignancies 
To evaluate the feasibility of integrating robot-assisted technology in the performance of laparoscopic staging of gynecologic malignancies.
Seven patients underwent robot-assisted laparoscopic staging procedures for gynecologic cancers. Data were collected and analyzed as a retrospective case series analysis.
We attempted 7 robot-assisted laparoscopic staging procedures with no conversions to laparotomy. The median lymph node count for lymphadenectomy was 15 (range, 4 to 29). Mean operating time was 257 minutes (range, 174 to 345). The average estimated blood loss was 50 mL. One patient developed sinusitis and required intravenous antibiotics. The median hospital stay was 2 days.
Robot-assisted laparoscopic staging is a feasible technique that may overcome the surgical limitations of conventional laparoscopy.
PMCID: PMC3015578  PMID: 15984701
Robot-assisted laparoscopy; Cancer staging; Gynecologic cancer; Surgical technique
25.  Laparoscopy Compared With Laparotomy for Comprehensive Surgical Staging of Uterine Cancer: Gynecologic Oncology Group Study LAP2 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2009;27(32):5331-5336.
The objective was to compare laparoscopy versus laparotomy for comprehensive surgical staging of uterine cancer.
Patients and Methods
Patients with clinical stage I to IIA uterine cancer were randomly assigned to laparoscopy (n = 1,696) or open laparotomy (n = 920), including hysterectomy, salpingo-oophorectomy, pelvic cytology, and pelvic and para-aortic lymphadenectomy. The main study end points were 6-week morbidity and mortality, hospital length of stay, conversion from laparoscopy to laparotomy, recurrence-free survival, site of recurrence, and patient-reported quality-of-life outcomes.
Laparoscopy was initiated in 1,682 patients and completed without conversion in 1,248 patients (74.2%). Conversion from laparoscopy to laparotomy was secondary to poor visibility in 246 patients (14.6%), metastatic cancer in 69 patients (4.1%), bleeding in 49 patients (2.9%), and other cause in 70 patients (4.2%). Laparoscopy had fewer moderate to severe postoperative adverse events than laparotomy (14% v 21%, respectively; P < .0001) but similar rates of intraoperative complications, despite having a significantly longer operative time (median, 204 v 130 minutes, respectively; P < .001). Hospitalization of more than 2 days was significantly lower in laparoscopy versus laparotomy patients (52% v 94%, respectively; P < .0001). Pelvic and para-aortic nodes were not removed in 8% of laparoscopy patients and 4% of laparotomy patients (P < .0001). No difference in overall detection of advanced stage (stage IIIA, IIIC, or IVB) was seen (17% of laparoscopy patients v 17% of laparotomy patients; P = .841).
Laparoscopic surgical staging for uterine cancer is feasible and safe in terms of short-term outcomes and results in fewer complications and shorter hospital stay. Follow-up of these patients will determine whether surgical technique impacts pattern of recurrence or disease-free survival.
PMCID: PMC2773219  PMID: 19805679

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