To focus on the recent adoption, patents, experience, and future of Robotic assisted surgery (RAS) applications in gynecologic surgery, a computer aided and manual search for clinical and systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials, prospective observational studies, retrospective studies and case reports published between 1970 and January of 2011 has been performed. The use of RAS in gynecologic patients includes hysterectomy, myomectomy, tubal reanastomoses, radical hysterectomy, lymph node dissection, and sacrocolpopexies. Although individual studies vary, gynecological RAS is often associated with longer operating room time but similar clinical outcomes, decreased blood loss, and shorter hospital stay. RAS procedures on women have, however, their own limitations: the patented equipment is very large, bulky, and expensive, the staff must be trained specifically on draping and docking the instruments, the lack of surgical haptic feedback, a limited vaginal access, a limited specific instrumentation, and the need for larger port incisions requiring fascial closure. The RAS significantly facilitates gynecologic surgery, even if well-designed, prospective studies are needed to fully assess the value of this equipments in particular studies with well-defined clinical and long-term outcomes, including complications, cost, pain, return to normal activity, and quality of life. The future of robotic surgery in gynecology may be bright, but currently, caution is advisable and clinically meaningful long-term outcomes are needed. These recent patents, however, has exciting potential for future applications, especially in long-distance telesurgery and might change the paradigm of gynecologic surgery in the future.
Assisted robotic surgery, robotics, laparoscopy, endoscopy, gynecological surgery, Da vinci, intraoperative complications, postoperative compliance, surgical outcome, gynecological cancer, oncology, fibroid, myoma, endo-surgery, sacrocolpopexy
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Experimental Endoscopic Surgery, Imaging,Minimally Invasive Therapy and Technology, Vito Fazzi Hospital, 73100 Lecce, Italy.