TitleRobot-Assisted General Surgery Procedures at the Veterans Health Administration: A Comparison of Surgical Techniques.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsShenoy, R, Mederos, MA, R Jacob, L, Kondo, KK, DeVirgilio, M, Ward, R, Kansagara, D, Shekelle, PG, Maggard-Gibbons, M, Girgis, MD, Hynes, DM
JournalJ Surg Res
Date Published2022 Jul 07

INTRODUCTION: The use of the robot in general surgery has exploded in the last decade. The Veterans Health Administration presents a unique opportunity to study differences between surgical approaches due to the ability to control for health system and insurance variability. This study compares clinical outcomes between robot-assisted and laparoscopic or open techniques for three general surgery procedures.

METHODS: A retrospective observational study using the Veterans Affair Surgical Quality Improvement Program database. Operative time, length of stay, and complications were compared for cholecystectomy (robot-assisted versus laparoscopic), ventral, and inguinal hernia repair (robot-assisted versus laparoscopic or open) from 2015 to 2019.

RESULTS: More than 80,000 cases were analyzed (21,652 cholecystectomy, 9214 ventral hernia repairs, and 51,324 inguinal hernia repairs). Median operative time was longer for all robot-assisted approaches as compared to laparoscopic or open techniques with the largest difference seen between open and robot-assisted primary ventral hernia repair (unadjusted difference of 93 min, P < 0.001). Median length of stay was between 1 and 4 d and significantly for robot-assisted ventral hernia repairs (versus open, P < 0.01; versus lap for recurrent hernia, P < 0.05). Specific postoperative outcomes of interest were overall low with few differences between techniques.

CONCLUSIONS: While the robotic platform was associated with longer operative time, these findings must be interpreted in the context of a learning curve and indications for use (i.e., use of the robot for technically challenging cases). Our findings suggest that at the Veterans Health Administration, the robot is as safe a platform for common general surgery procedures as traditional approaches. Future studies should focus on patient-centered outcomes including pain and cosmesis.

Alternate JournalJ Surg Res
PubMed ID35810550