Future of robotic surgery

Cancer J. 2013 Mar-Apr;19(2):109-19. doi: 10.1097/PPO.0b013e31828bf822.


In just over a decade, robotic surgery has penetrated almost every surgical subspecialty and has even replaced some of the most commonly performed open oncologic procedures. The initial reports on patient outcomes yielded mixed results, but as more medical centers develop high-volume robotics programs, outcomes appear comparable if not improved for some applications. There are limitations to the current commercially available system, and new robotic platforms, some designed to compete in the current market and some to address niche surgical considerations, are being developed that will change the robotic landscape in the next decade. Adoption of these new systems will be dependent on overcoming barriers to true telesurgery that range from legal to logistical. As additional surgical disciplines embrace robotics and open surgery continues to be replaced by robotic approaches, it will be imperative that adequate education and training keep pace with technology. Methods to enhance surgical performance in robotics through the use of simulation and telementoring promise to accelerate learning curves and perhaps even improve surgical readiness through brief virtual-reality warm-ups and presurgical rehearsal. All these advances will need to be carefully and rigorously validated through not only patient outcomes, but also cost efficiency.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Computer Simulation
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy / education
  • Laparoscopy / methods
  • Laparoscopy / trends
  • Learning Curve
  • Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Robotics / education
  • Robotics / methods
  • Robotics / trends*
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted / education
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted / trends*
  • Treatment Outcome