Video-assisted Thoracoscopic Esophagectomy With a Voice-controlled Robot: The AESOP System

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The authors attempted to clarify the feasibility and safety of thoracoscopic esophagectomy with a voice-controlled robot, the AESOP system (3000 HR), and further determine whether innovative surgical equipment could allow the performance of complex thoracoscopic esophagectomy. Thoracoscopic surgery with a voice-controlled robot system has already been used in single-surgeon lung resection. Intra-operative and postoperative outcomes were compared between patients receiving hand-assisted laparoscopic surgery (HALS) and video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) with the AESOP system (n = 15) and patients receiving open surgery (n = 30). In the AESOP group, the volume of blood loss was significantly less, but the total operation time was longer than in the open group. There were no significant differences in postoperative outcomes or the incidences of morbidity and mortality between the two groups. The surgeon using the AESOP system could obtain a stable, close-up, and long-lasting operative view. Laparoscopic and thoracoscopic surgery with the AESOP system has the potential to enable a single surgeon to perform a complex surgical procedure like esophagectomy.

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