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Surgery. 2019 Jun 14. pii: S0039-6060(19)30247-8. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2019.05.008. [Epub ahead of print]

Hospital factors strongly influence robotic use in general surgery.

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Department of Surgery, City of Hope, Duarte, CA.
Department of Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.
Department of Surgery, City of Hope, Duarte, CA. Electronic address:



We hypothesized that general surgeons are more likely to use a robotic surgical platform at hospitals where more urologic and gynecologic robotic operations are performed, suggesting that hospital-related factors are important for choice of usage of minimally invasive platforms.


We queried the National Inpatient Sample from 2010 to 2014 for patients who underwent stomach, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, colon and rectum, or hernia (general surgery), prostate or kidney (urologic surgery), and ovarian or uterine surgery (gynecologic surgery). Hospitals were grouped into quartiles according to percent volume of robotic urologic or gynecologic operations. Multivariable logistic regression modeling determined independent variables associated with robotics.


Survey-weighted results represented 482,227 open, 240,360 laparoscopic, and 42,177 robotic general surgical operations at 3,933 hospitals. Robotics use increased with each year studied and was more likely to be performed on younger men with private insurance. The odds of a general surgery patient receiving a robotic operation increased with urologic and gynecologic use at the hospital. Patients at top quartile hospitals for robotic urologic surgery had 1.34 times greater odds of receiving robotic general surgery operations (confidence interval 1.15-1.57, P < .001) and 1.53 times greater odds (confidence interval 1.32-1.79, P < .001) at top quartile robotic gynecologic hospitals. These findings were independent of study year, surgical site, insurance type, and hospital type and persisted when only comparing laparoscopic to robotic procedures.


Use of robotics in general surgery is independently associated with use in urologic and gynecologic surgery at a hospital, suggesting that institutional factors are important drivers of use when considering laparoscopy versus robotics in general surgery.


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