Robotic thoracic surgery is associated with shorter hospital stays, shorter duration of chest tube usage, and lower postoperative pain intensity than open thoracotomy, new data suggests.
In a paper published in Surgical Endoscopy, researchers reported the results of a retrospective study comparing the outcomes from 38 individuals who underwent robotic thoracic surgery using the da Vinci System with those of 38 patients who underwent open thoracic surgery.
They saw significantly shorter hospital stays associated with robotic surgery, compared with open surgery (6.9 days vs. 8.0 days, respectively; P = .02), as well as a shorter duration of chest tube use (2.9 plus or minus 2.0 days vs. 4.9 plus or minus 2.2 days; P less than .001).
While robotic surgery did not result in significant reductions in postoperative pain intensity when patients coughed, pain intensity for patients at rest on days 4 and 5 after surgery was significantly lower among those who had undergone robotic surgery than among those who had undergone open surgery (Surg Endosc. 2017.). On day 4, those who had undergone robotic surgery reported a mean pain score of 0.5 on a scale of 1-10, while those who underwent open surgery had a mean pain score of 1.1 (P = .04). On day 5, the mean pain scores were 0.7 in the robotic-surgery group and 1.6 in the open-surgery group (P = .003).
However, there was no difference in postoperative opioid use between the two groups. The robotic-surgery group showed a trend toward more postoperative nausea, but this did not reach statistical significance.
Most of the surgeries in the study were performed to remove malignant or benign tumors. Among both groups, 68% of patients received epidural analgesia, and 32% received systemic opioid-based postoperative analgesia.
“Current evidence shows that more than 70% of stage I lung cancers are still being performed by open technique,” wrote Christopher Darr, from the West German Lung Center at University Hospital Essen (Germany), and his coauthors. “However, the safety and the feasibility of robotic anatomic lung resection have been shown in several case series. Robotic thoracic surgery is gaining popularity as benefits can be suggested, such as improved ergonomics, three-dimensional optics, and simplifying operative procedure.”
One author declared financial support for meetings and presentations from Intuitive Surgical, the company that developed the da Vinci System. No other conflicts of interest were declared.