Surgical Endoscopy

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 1388–1398 | Cite as

The end of robot-assisted laparoscopy? A critical appraisal of scientific evidence on the use of robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery

  • Jeroen Heemskerk
  • Nicole D. Bouvy
  • Cor G. M. I. Baeten
Letter To the Editor



Robot-assisted laparoscopy has been used in a wide variety of surgical fields; however, the financial costs involved are high and convincing proof of superiority in terms of quality of life, cost effectiveness and survival is often lacking. Possibly, there might be small benefits for the patient or for the surgeon’s health that might warrant the use of robotics in limited fields of surgery.


We performed a critical appraisal of the literature, searching for scientific evidence supporting the use of robotics in daily laparoscopic surgery.


Convincing evidence supporting the use of robotics is lacking.


In an era of worldwide economic crisis, it is about time to start a critical discussion as to whether we should drastically limit, or even abandon, the use of robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery and focus on more cost-effective strategies of healthcare improvement. We suggest the use of robotics should be limited to well-powered, randomized clinical trials in a limited field of research.


Robot Robotic Robot-assisted Laparoscopy Laparoscopic Surgery 



Jeroen Heemskerk, Nicole D. Bouvy and Cor G.M.I. Baeten have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeroen Heemskerk
    • 1
  • Nicole D. Bouvy
    • 2
  • Cor G. M. I. Baeten
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of General SurgeryLaurentius Hospital RoermondRoermondThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Maastricht University Medical CentreMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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