Purpose: We compared the learning curve and outcomes in children undergoing robotic assisted laparoscopic pyeloplasty during the initiation of a robotic surgery program compared to the benchmark of open pyeloplasty. Materials and Methods: The records of our first consecutive 33 children undergoing robotic assisted laparoscopic pyeloplasty from 2006 to 2009 were retrospectively reviewed and compared to those of age and gender matched children who underwent open repair done by senior faculty surgeons before the initiation of our robotic surgery program. We compared operative time, complications, postoperative pain, length of stay and surgical success for 2 surgeons who adopted the robotic approach at an academic teaching institution. Results: We found no significant differences in length of stay, pain score or surgical success at a median followup of 16 months. The number of complications was similar and they tended to be early and technical in the robotic assisted laparoscopic pyeloplasty group. Overall average operative time was 90 minutes longer (38%) for robotic assisted laparoscopic pyeloplasty (p <0.004). When evaluated chronologically, there was evidence of a learning curve. After 15 to 20 robotic cases overall operative times for robotic assisted laparoscopic cases was consistently within 1 SD of our average open pyeloplasty time with no significant difference in overall operative time (p = 0.23). Of the decrease in overall operative time 70% was due to decreased pyeloplasty time rather than peripheral time. Conclusions: There was similar safety and efficacy with robotic assisted laparoscopic pyeloplasty, although complications tended to be technical and early in our initial experience. Operative time decreased with experience and after 15 to 20 cases it was similar to that of open pyeloplasty with similar outcomes and surgical success.
- outcome and process assessment (health care)