The evolving use of robotic surgery: a population-based analysis
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INTRODUCTION: Robotic surgery has integrated into the healthcare system despite limited evidence demonstrating its clinical benefit. Our objectives were (i) to describe secular trends and (ii) patient- and system-level determinants of the receipt of robotic as compared to open or laparoscopic surgery. METHODS: This population-based retrospective cohort study included adult patients who, between 2009 and 2018 in Ontario, Canada, underwent one of four commonly performed robotic procedures: radical prostatectomy, total hysterectomy, thoracic lobectomy, partial nephrectomy. Patients were categorized based on the surgical approach as robotic, open, or laparoscopic for each procedure. Multivariable regression models were used to estimate the temporal trend in robotic surgery use and associations of patient and system characteristics with the surgical approach. RESULTS: The cohort included 24,741 radical prostatectomy, 75,473 total hysterectomy, 18,252 thoracic lobectomy, and 4608 partial nephrectomy patients, of which 6.21% were robotic. After adjusting for patient and system characteristics, the rate of robotic surgery increased by 24% annually (RR 1.24, 95%CI 1.13-1.35): 13% (RR 1.13, 95%CI 1.11-1.16) for robotic radical prostatectomy, 9% (RR 1.09, 95%CI 1.05-1.13) for robotic total hysterectomy, 26% (RR 1.26, 95%CI 1.06-1.50) for thoracic lobectomy and 26% (RR 1.26, 95%CI 1.13-1.40) for partial nephrectomy. Lower comorbidity burden, earlier disease stage (among cancer cases), and early career surgeons with high case volume at a teaching hospital were consistently associated with the receipt of robotic surgery. CONCLUSION: The use of robotic surgery has increased. The study of the real-world clinical outcomes and associated costs is needed before further expanding use among additional providers and hospitals.
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