Minimally invasive surgery, including laparoscopic and robotic gastrectomy, has become more popular in the treatment of gastric cancer. However, few studies have compared the learning curves between laparoscopic and robotic gastrectomy for gastric cancer.
Data were prospectively collected between July 2008 and Aug 2014. A total of 145 patients underwent minimally invasive gastrectomy for gastric cancer by a single surgeon, including 73 laparoscopic and 72 robotic gastrectomies. The clinicopathologic characteristics, operative outcomes and learning curves were compared between the two groups.
Compared with the laparoscopic group, the robotic group was associated with less blood loss and longer operative time. After the surgeon learning curves were overcome for each technique, the operative outcomes became similar between the two groups except longer operative time in the robotic group. After accumulating more cases of robotic gastrectomy, the operative time in the laparoscopic group decreased dramatically.
After overcoming the learning curves, the operative outcomes became similar between laparoscopic and robotic gastrectomy. The experience of robotic gastrectomy could affect the learning process of laparoscopic gastrectomy.