Our aim was to determine the learning curve for robotic adrenalectomy and factors that influence operative time and cost.Methods
We prospectively evaluated of 100 consecutive patients who underwent robotic, unilateral, transperitoneal adrenalectomy.Results
The mean operative time for robotic-assisted adrenalectomy was 95 minutes and conversion rate was 5%. Pathology was aldosteronoma (n = 39), pheochromocytoma (n = 24), nonfunctional adenoma (n = 19), Cushing adenoma or hyperplasia (n = 16), and cyst (n = 2). Morbidity and mortality rates were 10% and 0%, respectively. The mean operative time decreased by 1 minute every 10 cases. Operative time improved more for junior surgeons than for senior surgeons (P = .006) after the first 50 cases. By multiple regression analysis, surgeon's experience (−18.9 ± 5.5), first assistant level (−7.8 ± 3.2), and tumor size (3 ± 1.4) were independent predictors of operative time (P < .001 each). The robotic procedure was 2.3 times more costly than lateral transperitoneal laparoscopic adrenalectomy (€4102 vs €1799).Conclusions
Surgeon experience, resident training level, and tumor size are important variables for robotic-assisted, unilateral adrenalectomy and should be taken into account when this approach is evaluated. Controlled studies need to be performed to show potential relevant clinical benefits that could balance costs.