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Int J Clin Pract. 2014 Nov;68(11):1376-82. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.12492. Epub 2014 Oct 6.

The use of robotics in surgery: a review.

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John Radcliffe Hospital, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.



There is an ever-increasing drive to improve surgical patient outcomes. Given the benefits which robotics has bestowed upon a wide range of industries, from vehicle manufacturing to space exploration, robots have been highlighted by many as essential for continued improvements in surgery.


The goal of this review is to outline the history of robotic surgery, and detail the key studies which have investigated its effects on surgical outcomes. Issues of cost-effectiveness and patient acceptability will also be discussed.


Robotic surgery has been shown to shorten hospital stays, decrease complication rates and allow surgeons to perform finer tasks, when compared to the traditional laparoscopic and open approaches. These benefits, however, must be balanced against increased intraoperative times, vast financial costs and the increased training burden associated with robotic techniques. The outcome of such a cost-benefit analysis appears to vary depending on the procedure being conducted; indeed the strongest evidence in favour of its use comes from the fields of urology and gynaecology. It is hoped that with the large-scale, randomised, prospective clinical trials underway, and an ever-expanding research base, many of the outstanding questions surrounding robotic surgery will be answered in the near future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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