Reconstruction/Repair of Iatrogenic Biliary Injuries: Is the Robot Offering a New Option? Short Clinical Report

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Abstract

Objective:

The aim of this study is to analyze perioperative outcomes of robotic reconstruction of iatrogenic biliary injuries and describe the surgical technique in detail.

Background:

Iatrogenic bile duct injuries (BDIs) continue to be a major concern in open and laparoscopic cholecystectomy. In the past decade, robotic surgery has been applied to many different procedures showing technical advantages, especially in microsurgical fields. Few cases of robotic BDI reconstructions have been described in the literature so far. This is the first clinical series of consecutive patients undergoing robotic BDI reconstructions.

Methods:

This study is a single-surgeon retrospective review of a prospectively maintained database including 14 patients who underwent robot-assisted biliary reconstruction due to iatrogenic BDIs.

Results:

In all, 14 patients underwent robot-assisted BDI reconstructions. The mean operative time, blood loss, and length of hospitalization were 280.6 min (SD = 132.0), 135.0 mL (SD = 169.7), and 8.4 days (SD = 6.7), respectively. The conversion rate to open surgery was 0%. Long-term follow-up was available in 85.7% (12 out of 14 patients) with a mean follow-up of 36.1 months (SD = 28.1). The >30-day complication rate was 14.3% (n = 2). These 2 patients presented with recurrent episodes of cholangitis due to hepatico-jejunostomy mild stenosis, which were successfully treated with transhepatic percutaneous biliary drainage and multiple dilatations.

Conclusions:

Robot-assisted BDI reconstruction is feasible, safe, and may represent an interesting option in expert hands. It maintains all the benefits of minimally invasive surgery and seems to have technical advantages in fine dissection and microsuturing in the liver hilum (magnified microsuturing). In this series, 14 patients with major BDIs were repaired with the robotic approach, with conversion and reoperation rates of 0%. Long-term outcome evaluation requires a longer follow up and larger series, but the initial results are promising.

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