Pediatric robotic surgery: A single-institutional review of the first 100 consecutive cases
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Robotic surgery is a new technology which may expand the variety of operations a surgeon can perform with minimally invasive techniques. We present a retrospective review of our first 100 consecutive robotic cases in children.
A three-arm robot was used with one camera arm and two instrument arms. Additional accessory ports were utilized as necessary. Two different attending surgeons performed the procedures.
Twenty-four different types of procedures were completed using the robot. The majority of the procedures (89%) were abdominal procedures with 11% thoracic. No urology or cardiac procedures were performed. Age ranged from 1 day to 23 years with an average age of 8.4 years. Weight ranged from 2.2 to 103 kg with a median weight of 27.9 kg. Twenty-two patients were less than 10.0 kg. Examples of cases included gastrointestinal (GI) surgery, hepatobiliary, surgical oncology, and congenital anomalies. The overall majority of cases had never been performed minimally invasively by the authors. The overall intraoperative conversion rate to open surgery was 13%. One case (1%) was converted to thoracoscopic because of lack of domain for the articulating instruments. No conversions or complications occurred as a result of injuries from the robotic instruments. Interestingly, four abdominal cases were converted to open surgery due to equipment failures or injuries from standard laparoscopic instruments used through non-robotic accessory ports.
Robotic surgery is safe and effective in children. An enormous variety of cases can be safely performed including complex cases in neonates and small children. Simple operations such as cholecystectomies have minimal advantages by using robotic technology but can serve as excellent teaching tools for residents and newcomers to this form of minimally invasive surgery (MIS). The technology is ideal for complex hepatobiliary cases and thoracic surgery, particularly solid chest masses.
KeywordsPediatrics Robotic Surgery Laparoscopy Thoracoscopy
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