The Use of Robotic-Assisted Thoracic Surgery for Lung Resection: A Comprehensive Systematic Review
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The primary objective of this study is to systematically review all pertinent literature related to robotic-assisted lung resection. Robotic-assisted thoracic surgery (RATS) case series and studies comparing RATS with video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) or thoracotomy were included in the search. In accordance with preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses guidelines, 2 independent reviewers performed the search and review of resulting titles and abstracts. Following full-text screening, a total of 20 articles met the inclusion criteria and are presented in the review. Amenable results were pooled and presented as a single outcome, and meta-analyses were performed for outcomes having more than 3 comparative analyses. Data are presented in the following 4 categories: technical outcomes, perioperative outcomes, oncological outcomes, and cost comparison. RATS was associated with longer operative time, but did not result in a greater rate of conversion to thoracotomy than VATS. RATS was superior to thoracotomy and equivalent to VATS for the incidence of prolonged air leak and hospital length-of-stay. Oncological outcomes like nodal upstaging and survival were no different between VATS and RATS. RATS was more costly than VATS, with most of the costs attributed to capital and disposable expenses of the robotic platform. Although limited by a lack of prospective analysis, lung resection via RATS compares favorably with thoracotomy and appears to be no different than VATS. Prospective studies are required to determine if there are outcome differences between RATS and VATS.