JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Clinical applications of robotic technology in vascular and endovascular surgery

George A Antoniou, Celia V Riga, Erik K Mayer, Nicholas J W Cheshire, Colin D Bicknell
Journal of Vascular Surgery 2011, 53 (2): 493-9
20801611

BACKGROUND: Emerging robotic technologies are increasingly being used by surgical disciplines to facilitate and improve performance of minimally invasive surgery. Robot-assisted intervention has recently been introduced into the field of vascular surgery to potentially enhance laparoscopic vascular and endovascular capabilities. The objective of this study was to review the current status of clinical robotic applications in vascular surgery.

METHODS: A systematic literature search was performed in order to identify all published clinical studies related to robotic implementation in vascular intervention. Web-based search engines were searched using the keywords "surgical robotics," "robotic surgery," "robotics," "computer assisted surgery," and "vascular surgery" or "endovascular" for articles published between January 1990 and November 2009. An evaluation and critical overview of these studies is reported. In addition, an analysis and discussion of supporting evidence for robotic computer-enhanced telemanipulation systems in relation to their applications in laparoscopic vascular and endovascular surgery was undertaken.

RESULTS: Seventeen articles reporting on clinical applications of robotics in laparoscopic vascular and endovascular surgery were detected. They were either case reports or retrospective patient series and prospective studies reporting laparoscopic vascular and endovascular treatments for patients using robotic technology. Minimal comparative clinical evidence to evaluate the advantages of robot-assisted vascular procedures was identified. Robot-assisted laparoscopic aortic procedures have been reported by several studies with satisfactory results. Furthermore, the use of robotic technology as a sole modality for abdominal aortic aneurysm repair and expansion of its applications to splenic and renal artery aneurysm reconstruction have been described. Robotically steerable endovascular catheter systems have potential advantages over conventional catheterization systems. Promising results from applications in cardiac interventions and preclinical studies have urged their use in vascular surgery. Although successful applications in endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm and lower extremity arterial disease have been reported, published clinical experience with the endovascular robot is limited.

CONCLUSIONS: Robotic technology may enhance vascular surgical techniques given preclinical evidence and early clinical reports. Further clinical studies are required to quantify its advantages over conventional treatments and define its role in vascular and endovascular surgery.

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