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A Journal on Surgery

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Minerva Chirurgica 2011 August;66(4):281-93


language: English

A current update on the evolution of robotic liver surgery

Kitisin K. 1, Packiam V. 2, Bartlett D. L. 1, Tsung A. 2

1 Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA; 2 Division of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA


Laparoscopic liver surgery has evolved significantly over the past decade. Increasing understanding of hepatic anatomy and advancements in technology have extended the scope of the minimally invasive approach. Robotic-assisted technology offers solutions to the fundamental limitations of conventional laparoscopic liver resection. Several centers have begun to utilize robotic technology to perform complex liver surgeries. The purpose of this review is to provide a comprehensive analysis of published literature about the role of robotic-assisted laparoscopic technology in liver surgery. A literature search of Pubmed was used to identify all English publications about robotic liver surgery. Publications were selected to examine all unique patient series. Outcomes analyzed included operative time, estimated blood loss, length of stay, complication rate, conversion rate to open, cost, and oncologic outcomes. A total of eight series containing 134 unique patients were selected for review. Sixty-nine percent of patients had malignant lesions resected, while 31% had benign lesions. Segmentectomy/wedge (36%) was the most common resection performed, followed by left lateral sectionectomy (28%) right hepatectomy (16%) and left hepatectomy (9%). A meta-analysis of the remaining data was not possible due to heterogeneity in methods for reporting. Outcomes varied widely between studies. Based on analysis of early published series, robotic liver surgery is a feasible and safe tool for the minimally invasive resection of hepatic lesions. Further evaluation is required to assess for improvement in outcomes, and long-term oncologic outcomes are still pending.

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