Robotic versus laparoscopic hepatectomy: a matched comparison

Ann Surg. 2014 Mar;259(3):549-55. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000000250.


Objective: To perform a matched comparison of surgical and postsurgical outcomes between our robotic and laparoscopic hepatic resection experience.

Background: The application of robotic technology and technique to liver surgery has grown. Robotic methods may have the potential to overcome certain laparoscopic disadvantages, but few studies have drawn a matched comparison of outcomes between robotic and laparoscopic liver resections.

Methods: Demographics, intraoperative variables, and postoperative outcomes among patients undergoing robotic (n = 57) and laparoscopic (n = 114) hepatic resections between November 2007 and December 2011 were reviewed. A 1:2 matched analysis was performed by individually matching patients in the robotic cohort to patients in the laparoscopic cohort based on demographics, comorbidities, performance status, and extent of liver resection.

Results: Matched patients undergoing robotic and laparoscopic liver resections displayed no significant differences in operative and postoperative outcomes as measured by blood loss, transfusion rate, R0 negative margin rate, postoperative peak bilirubin, postoperative intensive care unit admission rate, length of stay, and 90-day mortality. Patients undergoing robotic liver surgery had significantly longer operative times (median: 253 vs 199 minutes) and overall room times (median: 342 vs 262 minutes) compared with their laparoscopic counterparts. However, the robotic approach allowed for an increased percentage of major hepatectomies to be performed in a purely minimally invasive fashion (81% vs 7.1%, P < 0.05).

Conclusions: This is the largest series comparing robotic to laparoscopic liver resections. Robotic and laparoscopic liver resection display similar safety and feasibility for hepatectomies. Although a greater proportion of robotic cases were completed in a totally minimally invasive manner, there were no significant benefits over laparoscopic techniques in operative outcomes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Blood Loss, Surgical / mortality
  • Blood Loss, Surgical / prevention & control
  • Blood Transfusion
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hepatectomy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Laparoscopy / methods*
  • Length of Stay / trends
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Operative Time
  • Pennsylvania / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Robotics / methods*
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Treatment Outcome