Background: Although single-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy (SILC) is safe and effective, inherent surgeons' discomfort has prevented a large-scale adaptation of this technique. Recent advances in robotic technology suggest that da Vinci Single-Site™ cholecystectomy (dVSSC) may overcome this issue by reducing the stress load of the surgeon compared to SILC. However, evidence to objectively assess differences between the two approaches is lacking.
Methods: 60 patients [36 women, 24 men (mean age 52 years)] with benign gallbladder disease were randomly assigned to dVSSC (n = 30) or SILC (n = 30) in this single-centre, single-blinded controlled trial. The primary endpoint was surgeon's stress load. Secondary endpoints included operating time, conversion rates, additional trocar placement, blood loss, length of hospital stay, procedure costs, health-related quality of life, cosmesis and complications. Data were collected preoperatively, during the hospital stay, and at 1 and 12 months' follow-up.
Results: The dVSSC group showed a significant reduction of mental stress load of the surgeon compared to SILC [Subjective Mental Effort Questionnaire (SMEQ) score: median 25.0 (range 8-89) vs. 42.5 (range 13-110) points; p = 0.002] and a trend towards reduced physical stress load [Local Experienced Discomfort (LED) score: median 8 (range 2-27) vs. 12 (range 0-64) points; p = 0.088]. The length of hospital stay was longer in the SILC group [mean 3.06 (median 2; range 1-26) vs. 1.9 (median 2; range 1-4) days, p = 0.034] but overall hospital costs were higher for dVSSC [median 9734 (range 5775-16729) vs. 6900 (range 4156-99977) CHF; p = 0.001]. There were no differences in the rate of postoperative complications that required re-intervention (Dindo-Clavien grade ≥ IIIa; SILC n = 2 vs. dVSSC n = 0, p = 0.492) or other secondary endpoints.
Conclusions: Da Vinci Single-Site™ cholecystectomy provides significant benefits over Single-Port Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy in terms of surgeon's stress load, matches the standards of the laparoscopic single-incision approach with regard to patients' outcomes but increases expenses. Clinicaltrials.gov registration-No.: NCT02485392.
Keywords: Benign gallbladder disease; Cholecystectomy; Laparoscopic single-incision; Randomized controlled trial; Robot-assisted single-site.