Researchers examined surgical outcomes for more than 71,300 radical prostatectomies performed between 2004 and 2010, finding that robot-assisted improved procedural outcomes even in a surgeon’s 1st robot-assisted prostatectomies, improving over time as docs grew more familiar with the platform.
"The study shows that even in the 1st 25 cases, robotic-assisted prostatectomies resulted in fewer complications and shorter hospital stays than open surgery," Intuitive Surgical chief medical advisor Dr. Myriam Curet said in prepared remarks.
There also appeared to be a halo effect for hospitals that offer both open and robot-assisted prostatectomies, where transfusion rates, complications rates and average hospital stays were shorter than for open surgeries at non-robotic hospitals, according to an Intuitive Surgical press release.
The retrospective study featured a host of limitations, study authors warned, including a "a lack of cost figures, functional outcomes, pathologic endpoints, and disease-free status, which therefore result in only a partial analysis of comparative effectiveness. In addition, unknown patient selection differences may exist between the open and robotic-assisted groups."
The report is the latest in a string of Intuitive Surgical studies touting robot-assisted surgery over open surgery, but the advantages over other minimally invasive techniques is a source of some debate.
Some studies have criticized da Vinci procedures as a costlier type of minimally invasive surgery that confers little benefits over laparoscopic procedures. A study published earlier this year found that robotic surgery complications may be under-reported and therefore less safe than they appear, a conclusion Intuitive called "misleading." Studies published last year raised similar concerns regarding robotic surgery prostatectomies and robotic surgeries to treat endometrial cancer.
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