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JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Advantages of robotics in benign gynecologic surgery

Mireille Truong, Jin Hee Kim, Stacey Scheib, Kristin Patzkowsky
Current Opinion in Obstetrics & Gynecology 2016, 28 (4): 304-10
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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The purpose of this article is to review the literature and discuss the advantages of robotics in benign gynecologic surgery.

RECENT FINDINGS: Minimally invasive surgery has become the preferred route over abdominal surgery. The laparoscopic or robotic approach is recommended when vaginal surgery is not feasible. Thus far, robotic gynecologic surgery data have demonstrated feasibility, safety, and equivalent clinical outcomes in comparison with laparoscopy and better clinical outcomes compared with laparotomy. Robotics was developed to overcome challenges of laparoscopy and has led to technological advantages such as improved ergonomics, visualization with three-dimensional capabilities, dexterity and range of motion with instrument articulation, and tremor filtration. To date, applications of robotics in benign gynecology include hysterectomy, myomectomy, endometriosis surgery, sacrocolpopexy, adnexal surgery, tubal reanastomosis, and cerclage. Though further data are needed, robotics may provide additional benefits over other approaches in the obese patient population and in higher complexity cases. Challenges that arose in the earlier adoption stage such as the steep learning curve, costs, and operative times are becoming more optimized with greater experience, with implementation of robotics in high-volume centers and with improved training of surgeons and robotic teams. Robotic laparoendoscopic single-site surgery, albeit still in its infancy where technical advantages compared with laparoscopic single-site surgery are still unclear, may provide a cost-reducing option compared with multiport robotics. The cost may even approach that of laparoscopy while still conferring similar perioperative outcomes.

SUMMARY: Advances in robotic technology such as the single-site platform and telesurgery, have the potential to revolutionize the field of minimally invasive gynecologic surgery. Higher quality evidence is needed to determine the advantages and disadvantages of robotic surgery in benign gynecologic surgery. Conclusions on the benefits and risks of robotic surgery should be made with caution given limited data, especially when compared with other routes. Route of surgery selection should take into consideration the surgeons' skill and comfort level that allows for the highest level of safety and efficiency. Ultimately, the robotic device is an additional minimally invasive surgical tool that can further the goal of minimizing laparotomy in gynecology.

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