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Minim Invasive Surg. 2012;2012:347131. doi: 10.1155/2012/347131. Epub 2012 Sep 17.

The Initial Learning Curve for Robot-Assisted Sleeve Gastrectomy: A Surgeon's Experience While Introducing the Robotic Technology in a Bariatric Surgery Department.

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  • 1Endocrine, Metabolic and Bariatric Unit, General Surgery Department, Vall d'Hebron University Hospital, Center of Excellence for the EAC-BC, Passeig de la Vall d'Hebron 119-129, 08035 Barcelona, Spain.


Objective. Robot-assisted sleeve gastrectomy has the potential to treat patients with obesity and its comorbidities. To evaluate the learning curve for this procedure before undergoing Roux en-Y gastric bypass is the objective of this paper. Materials and Methods. Robot-assisted sleeve gastrectomy was attempted in 32 consecutive patients. A survey was performed in order to identify performance variables during completion of the learning curve. Total operative time (OT), docking time (DT), complications, and length of hospital stay were compared among patients divided into two cohorts according to the surgical experience. Scattergrams and continuous curves were plotted to develop a robotic sleeve gastrectomy learning curve. Results. Overall OT time decreased from 89.8 minutes in cohort 1 to 70.1 minutes in cohort 2, with less than 5% change in OT after case 19. Time from incision to docking decreased from 9.5 minutes in cohort 1 to 7.6 minutes in cohort 2. The time required to dock the robotic system also decreased. The complication rate was the same in the two cohorts. Conclusion. Our survey indicates that technique and outcomes for robot-assisted sleeve gastrectomy gradually improve with experience. We found that the learning curve for performing a sleeve gastrectomy using the da Vinci system is completed after about 20 cases.

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