Linking surgical skills to postoperative outcomes: a Delphi study on the robot-assisted radical prostatectomy

J Robot Surg. 2019 Oct;13(5):675-687. doi: 10.1007/s11701-018-00916-9. Epub 2019 Jan 4.


Objective: To develop an assessment instrument for the evaluation of surgical videos to elucidate the association between surgical skills and postoperative outcomes after a robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP).

Design: A Delphi study consisting of two consecutive online surveys and a consensus group meeting.

Setting: Urology departments of general, teaching and university hospitals in the Netherlands.

Participants: All Dutch urologists with a specialization in RARP.

Results: Of 18 invited experts, 12 (67%) participated in the first online survey. In the second round, 9 of the 18 invited experts participated (50%). The Delphi meeting was attended by 5 of the 18 (27%) invited experts. The panel identified seven surgical steps with a possible association to postoperative outcomes. The experts also expected an association between adverse postoperative outcomes and the frequency of camera removals, the number of stitches placed, the amount of bleeding, and the extent of coagulation. These factors were incorporated into an assessment instrument.

Conclusions: Experts in the field of RARP achieved consensus on 7 surgical steps and 4 aspects of the RARP procedure that may be related to adverse postoperative outcomes. The resulting assessment instrument will be tested in future research to determine its validity.

Keywords: Delphi; Postoperative outcomes; Prostatectomy; RARP; Surgical skills; Video analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Consensus
  • Expert Testimony
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Netherlands
  • Patient Outcome Assessment*
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Prostatectomy / adverse effects
  • Prostatectomy / methods*
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Video Recording