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August 20, 2020

Robotic Surgery and Oncologic Outcomes

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Surgery, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York
JAMA Oncol. 2020;6(10):1537-1539. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.2996

In the 20 years since the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci surgical system for general laparoscopic surgery, robotic surgery has become commonplace in nearly every surgical specialty. This shift is likely owing to the technical advantages of robotic surgery vs conventional laparoscopy, including improved ergonomics, superior visual depth and definition, expanded articulation, elimination of motor tremor, and finer movements, despite the limited haptic feedback and potentially prohibitive cost to smaller centers. Although initial strides in robotic surgery were taken in benign disease, such as coronary artery surgery and the Lindbergh cholecystectomy, it was not long before robotics became widely adopted in surgical oncology. This trend started in urologic and gynecologic surgery. By comparison, application to head and neck surgery came later, with transoral robotic surgery (TORS) gaining FDA approval in December 2009. By that time, pelvic robotic surgery was already pervasive; in 2010, adoption of robotic surgery for radical prostatectomy was more than 40% in the United States.1

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