Robotic Cholecystectomy: Learning Curve, Advantages, and Limitations

Tamas J Vidovszky, William Smith, Jagannath Ghosh, Mohamed R Ali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Background: Robotic cholecystectomy is safe, feasible procedure. Initial studies showed significant set up time and operating time but no clear clinical advantage of the robotic involvement. We have investigated the learning curve, advantages and limitation of the procedure. Material and methods: We reviewed all (n = 51) robotic cholecystectomies performed between July 2004 and December 2005. The surgery was performed using the da Vinci system. We recorded operative time, setup time of robotics instrumentation, conversion to laparoscopic or open cholecystectomy and complication of the procedure. Results: Forty-eight of the 51 procedures (94%) were completed robotically. We did not experience any significant complications directly related to robotics surgery. The mean ± SD operating time was 77 ± 22.3 min. The mean setup time for robotics (from incision until robot was in place, including draping the robot) was 24 ± 8.8 min. However, the setup time significantly improved as we gained more experience: from 30.6 ± 10.7 min (first 16 cases) to 18.3 ± 4.0 min (cases 33-48). The mean robotic time was 34 ± 16.1 min. We observed no significant improvement in robotic procedure time. Conclusions: Robotic cholecystectomy offers significant advantages such as three-dimensional view, easier instrument manipulations and possibility of remote site surgery. We observed some shortcomings of robotic surgery such as need for larger and additional ports, and need for undocking the machine in case of cholangiography or change of patient position. Our data shows that the learning curve is between 16 to 32 procedures to significantly decrease the setup time and total operating time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-178
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • cholecystectomy
  • da Vinci
  • laparoscopy
  • learning curve
  • robotic surgery
  • surgical education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Robotic Cholecystectomy: Learning Curve, Advantages, and Limitations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this