Robotic versus laparoscopic adrenalectomy: a comparative study in a high-volume center
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- Pineda-Solís, K., Medina-Franco, H. & Heslin, M.J. Surg Endosc (2013) 27: 599. doi:10.1007/s00464-012-2496-9
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Minimally invasive surgery has become more popular in recent years. The da Vinci® robot is one of the new technologies the use of which has gained popularity in a host of different specialties. Originally used in cardiac surgery, marked increases in utilization have been seen in urology, gynecology, and thoracic surgery. Use in general surgical procedures has now become more common. The objective benefits of the robot are unclear compared to those of laparoscopy in many procedures. The aim of this study was to assess the benefits and disadvantages of robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery for adrenalectomy in a high-volume center compared to routine laparoscopic techniques.
We conducted a retrospective study including consecutive patients who underwent minimally invasive adrenalectomy in a tertiary referral center at the University of Alabama Birmingham. Demographic, clinical, histopathological, and surgical variables were recorded. Patients were divided in two groups: laparoscopic adrenalectomy (LA) and robot-assisted adrenalectomy (RA). Groups were compared using the χ2 test for categorical variables and Student’s t-test for continuous variables. Significance was considered p < 0.05.
Sixty patients were included, with 30 patients in each group. There were no significant differences between groups with respect to demographic variables except there were more pheochromocytoma patients in the LA group than in the RA group (13/30 vs. 5/30, respectively; p = 0.02). This study demonstrated increased operative time in the robotic group (190 ± 33 min) versus the laparoscopic group (160 ± 41 min) (p = 0.003). There was a trend for less blood loss in RA versus LA (30 ± 5 ml vs. 55 ± 74 ml; p = 0.07). There was no mortality. Morbidity and length of hospital stay were similar for both groups.
Robotic adrenalectomy is as safe and technically feasible as laparoscopic adrenalectomy. Subjective benefits for the surgeon with robot-assisted surgery include three-dimensional operative view, ergonomically comfortable position, and elimination of the surgeon’s tremor. The operating time is significantly longer but patient outcomes are similar to those of the laparoscopic technique.