Minimally invasive surgery has been recently recommended for treatment of early-stage non-small cell lung cancer. Despite the recent increase of robotic surgery, the place and potential advantages of the robot in thoracic surgery has not been well defined until now.Methods
We reviewed our prospective database for retrospective comparison of our first 28 video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery lobectomies (V group) and our first 28 robotic lobectomies (R group).Results
No significant difference was shown in median operative time between the two groups (185 vs. 190 minutes, p = 0.56). Median preincision time was significantly longer in the R group (80 vs. 60 minutes, P < 0.0001). The rate of emergency conversion for uncontrolled bleeding was lower in the R group (one vs. four). Median length of stay was comparable (6 days in the R group vs. 7 days in the V group, p = 0.4) with no significant difference in the rate of postoperative complications (eight Grade I in both groups, four Grade III or IV in the V group vs. six in the R group, according to the Clavien-Dindo classification, p = 0.93). No postoperative cardiac morbidity was observed in the R group. Median drainage time was similar (5 days, p = 0.78), with a rate of prolonged air leak slightly higher in the R group (25 vs. 17.8%, p = 0.74).Conclusion
Perioperative outcomes are similar even in the learning period but robotic approach seems to offer more operative safety with fewer conversions for uncontrolled bleeding.