Short learning curve in transition from laparoscopic to robotic-assisted rectal cancer surgery: a prospective study from a Finnish Tertiary Referral Centre

Charlotta S.J. Kolehmainen, Mika T. Ukkonen, Timo Tomminen, Ilona M. Helavirta, Johanna M. Laukkarinen, Marja Hyöty, Sannamari Kotaluoto

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Abstract

The narrow pelvis causes special challenges in surgery, and robotic-assisted surgery has been proven beneficial in these circumstances. While robotic surgery has some specific advantages in rectal cancer surgery, there is still limited evidence of the learning curve of the technique involved. The aim here was to study the transition from laparoscopic to robotic-assisted surgery among experienced laparoscopic surgeons. The data for this study were collected from a prospectively compiled register that includes patients operated on by the Da Vinci Xi robot in Tampere University Hospital. Each consecutive rectal cancer patient was included. The information on the surgical and oncological outcomes was analysed. The learning curve was assessed using cumulative sum (CUSUM) analysis. CUSUM already demonstrated an overall positively sloped curve at the beginning of the study, with neither the conversion rate nor morbidity reaching unacceptable thresholds. Conversions (4%) and postoperative complications (Clavien–Dindo III–IV 15%, no intraoperative complications) were rare. One patient died within one month and the death was not procedure-associated. While surgical and oncological outcomes were similar among all surgeons, the console times showed a decreasing trend and were shorter among those with more experience in laparoscopic rectal cancer surgery. Robotic-assisted rectal cancer surgery can be safely adapted by experienced laparoscopic colorectal surgeons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2361–2367
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Robotic Surgery
Volume17
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Learning curve
  • Rectal cancer surgery
  • Robotic surgery
  • Surgical training

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Health Informatics

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