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When Is Robotic Surgery Not the Best Surgical Option

Robotic assisted surgery is one of the largest steps forward in modern surgical history and has the potential to have even greater benefits in the future. Robotic surgery has made procedures that were once too complex to be performed open or laparoscopically, routine. Further, the visualization and dexterity improvements that robotic surgery brings to the operating table have allowed surgeons to be more productive and less fatigued in the OR.

However, with all its benefits, robotic surgery is not appropriate in every case. When we screen patients for surgery, we consider first the safety and second the effectiveness of the procedure. Robotic surgery often offers the best of both worlds, especially when complexity is involved.

However, there are circumstances where a robotic procedure is no safer or more effective than its laparoscopic counterpart (this is true for many hernia surgeries and virtually all gallbladder removal surgeries). Some reasons include:

Benefit and Effectiveness

Many procedures do not benefit from a robotic approach when compared to a laparoscopic approach. Incision size, recovery, and actual operative time are sometimes the same or even better with a pure laparoscopic approach. Thus, a robotic approach is not needed or beneficial.

Procedures That Must Be Performed in an Open Manner

While laparoscopic technology has become the norm in general surgery, there are times where a patient benefits from open surgery. In this case, of course, robotic and traditional laparoscopy simply cannot be employed.

Some Procedures are Not Suited to Robotic Surgery

While many procedures can be performed with robotic assistance, there are some that simply cannot. Dr. Lublin will discuss the appropriateness of the robotic platform for each case.

Time and Availability

Because of the cost and limited availability of robotic surgical devices, hospitals must prioritize the robot, assigning surgeries that benefit greatly from the robotic platform first. This means that not all patients will have access to a robotic surgical suite at any given time.

Cost Considerations

Robotic surgery tends to be more expensive to the patient and the payer, and if the safety and efficacy of the procedure is the same as traditional laparoscopy it benefits both to opt for the minimally invasive, non-robotic approach.

Consulting with an experienced robotic general surgeon about the appropriateness of using the robot for your upcoming procedure is the best way to learn more about your options and which technique is best for you. Please contact our office to learn more.

Posted in: Bariatric surgery, laparoscopic surgery, minimally invasive surgery, Weight Loss Surgery

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