Robotic adrenalectomy: technical aspects, early results and learning curve

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BackgroundAdrenal surgery is undergoing continuous evolution, and robotic technology may extend indications for a minimally invasive approach to adrenalectomy.MethodsThirty robot-assisted unilateral transperitoneal adrenalectomy procedures have been performed at our Department over the last 5 years. The presence of bilateral lesions and vascular involvement were the only contra-indications for a minimally invasive approach. Several patients presented with significant co-morbidities: BMI > 35 kg/m2 (20%); ASA score III–IV (58.7%); and moderate to severe impaired respiratory function (36.6%). In addition, 40% of patients had undergone previous abdominal surgery.ResultsTwo patients presented with intra-operative complications (6.6%) and only one patient required conversion to an open procedure (3.3%). None of the patients required intraoperative transfusions. Hospital morbidity was 10% but no mortality was recorded. The mean hospital stay was 5.2 ± 2.2 days. The mean size of the resected adrenal mass was 5.1 ± 2.4 cm. A significant reduction in operative times was found with gaining experience.ConclusionsThanks to robotic technology, some subpopulations of patients with clinical or oncological contra-indications to laparoscopic treatment may be addressed with minimally invasive treatment. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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