Lower rate of conversion using robotic-assisted surgery compared to laparoscopy in completion total gastrectomy for remnant gastric cancer

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Completion total gastrectomy with radical lymphadenectomy for remnant gastric cancer is a technically demanding procedure. No previous studies have compared laparoscopic to robotic-assisted completion gastrectomy, whereas a few small case series have reported benefits of minimally invasive surgery over open surgery. The aim of this study is to assess the effectiveness and feasibility of robotic-assisted compared with laparoscopic completion gastrectomy for the treatment of remnant gastric cancer.


We retrospectively reviewed data from 55 patients who underwent minimally invasive completion gastrectomy for remnant gastric cancer at the Severance Hospital of Yonsei University Health System from April 2005 to July 2017. Of the 55 patients, 30 patients underwent laparoscopic and 25 underwent robotic-assisted completion total gastrectomy. We compared the patients’ demographics, operative outcomes, and postoperative outcomes.


Operation time was longer in the robotic-assisted surgery group (225 vs 292 min, P < 0.001), but both groups had similar estimated blood loss. The laparoscopic surgery group had a 13.3% (four patients) rate of conversion to open surgery because of severe adhesions, whereas no patients in the robotic group underwent conversion to laparoscopic or open surgery (P = 0.058). Mean hospital stay, postoperative complications, and recovery were similar in both groups. Pathology results, including the number of retrieved lymph nodes, did not differ between groups.


Laparoscopic and robotic approaches are both feasible and safe for remnant gastric cancer, with comparable short-term outcomes. However, the robotic approach demonstrated a lower conversion rate than laparoscopy, although the statistical difference was marginal.

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We would like to thank Anthony Thomas Milliken, ELS (Editing Synthase, Seoul, Korea) for his assistance with editing the manuscript. We also acknowledge the assistance of BioScience Writers, LLC (Houston, TX, USA) with copyediting and correction of English language usage.

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Correspondence to Woo Jin Hyung.

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Dr. Woo Jin Hyung is a consultant for Ethicon and Verb Surgical, and has stock in Hutom. Drs. Rana M. Alhossaini, Abdulaziz A. Altamran, Minah Cho, Chul Kyu Roh, Won Jun Seo, Seohee Choi, Taeil Son, and Hyoung-Il Kim have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Alhossaini, R.M., Altamran, A.A., Cho, M. et al. Lower rate of conversion using robotic-assisted surgery compared to laparoscopy in completion total gastrectomy for remnant gastric cancer. Surg Endosc 34, 847–852 (2020) doi:10.1007/s00464-019-06838-3

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  • Robotic-assisted gastrectomy
  • Laparoscopic gastrectomy
  • Completion total gastrectomy
  • Gastric cancer