What is the value of telerobotic technology in gastrointestinal surgery?
BACKGROUND: Although telerobotic technology has entered clinical application, its value for gastrointestinal surgery is unclear. Our objective was to evaluate the performance characteristics of telerobotically assisted laparoscopic cholecystectomy (TALC). METHODS: All TALCs performed using the da Vinci Surgical System between January 2000 and September 2001 at a tertiary academic medical center were analyzed. RESULTS: For this study, 20 patients (80% female) with a mean age of 47 +/- 4 years underwent TALC. All had symptomatic cholelithiasis, and all had successful TALC results without complications or need for conversion to conventional laparoscopic cholecystectomy (CLP). The mean procedure time was 152 +/- 8 min. The procedures were performed by one of three staff surgeons experienced in laparoscopic surgery who had training in telerobotic surgery. The perceived advantages of TALC over CLP included easier tissue dissection, enhanced dexterity, and stimulated interest in biliary surgery. The disadvantages included increased operating time and lack of tactile feedback. CONCLUSIONS: The TALC procedure is effective and safe when performed by appropriately trained surgeons. Telerobotic technology has the potential to reinvigorate gastrointestinal surgery.
Perez, A; Zinner, MJ; Ashley, SW; Brooks, DC; Whang, EE
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