Langenbecks Arch Surg. 2023 Oct 24;408(1):416. doi: 10.1007/s00423-023-03152-4.
INTRODUCTION: Robotic-assisted surgery (RAS) offers potential advantages over traditional surgical approaches. This study aimed to assess outcomes from a district general hospital (DGH) robotic colorectal programme against published data.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The robotic programme was established following simulator, dry/wet lab training, and proctoring. We performed a case series analysing technical, patient, and oncological outcomes extracted from a prospective database of colorectal RAS cases (2015-2022). A registered systematic review (PROSPERO CRD42022300773; PubMed, Web of Science, EMBASE) of single-centre colorectal series from established robotic centres (n>200 cases) was completed and compared to local data using descriptive summary statistics. Risk of bias assessment was performed using an adapted version of the Cochrane ROBINS-I tool.
RESULTS: Two hundred thirty-two RAS cases were performed including 122 anterior resections, 56 APERs, 19 rectopexies, and 15 Hartmann’s procedures. The median duration was 325 (IQR 265-400) min. Blood loss was < 100 ml in 97% of cases with 2 (0.9%) cases converted to open. Complications (Clavien-Dindo 3-5) occurred in 19 (8%) patients, with 3 (1.3%) deaths in < 30 days. Length of stay was 7 (IQR 5-11) days. In 169 rectal cancer cases, there were 9 (5.3%) cases with a positive circumferential or distal margin and lymph node yield of 17 (IQR 13-24). A systematic review of 1648 abstracts identified 13 studies from established robotic centres, totaling 4930 cases, with technical, patient, and oncological outcomes comparable to our own case series.
CONCLUSIONS: Outcomes from our robotic colorectal programme at a UK DGH are comparable with the largest published case series from world-renowned centres. Training and proctoring together with rolling audit must accompany the expansion of robotic surgery to safeguard outcomes.