Hypothesis: We hypothesized that we could develop a safe and effective technique for performing a totally robotic laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure using the da Vinci surgical system. We anticipated that the learning curve for this totally robotic procedure could be shorter than the learning curve for standard laparoscopic bariatric surgery. Design: Retrospective case comparison study. Setting: Academic tertiary care center. Patients: Consecutive samples of patients who met National Institutes of Health (NIH) criteria for morbid obesity and who completed the Stanford Bariatric Surgery Program evaluation process. Intervention: A port placement and robot positioning scheme was developed so that the entire case could be performed robotically. The first 10 patients who underwent a totally robotic laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass were compared with a retrospective sample of 10 patients who had undergone laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. Main Outcome Measures: Patient age, gender, body mass index (BMI), numbers of NIH-defined comorbidities, operative time, length of stay, and complications. Results: No significant differences existed between the 2 patient series with regard to age, gender, or BMI. The median surgical times were significantly lower for the robotic procedures (169 vs 208 minutes; P=.03), as was the ratio of procedure time to BMI (3.8 vs 5.0 minutes per BMI for the laparoscopic cases; P=.04). Conclusions: This study details the first report, to our knowledge, of a totally robotic laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and demonstrates the feasibility, safety, and potential superiority of such a procedure. In addition, the learning curve may be significantly shorter with the robotic procedure. Further experience is needed to understand the long-term advantages and disadvantages of the totally robotic approach.
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