Context: In recent years, there has been a rapid uptake in the use of laparoscopic and robotic surgery within urological oncological surgery. There is now growing interest in applying these surgical techniques to functional and reconstructive urology (FRU).
Objective: To provide an overview of the use of robotic surgery within the sphere of functional and reconstructive urology and discuss the research needs and the likely role of robotic technology in future.
Evidence acquisition: A PubMed-based literature review performed in March 2019 identified all articles published regarding the use of robotic surgery within FRU for the reconstruction of the upper tracts, bladder, bladder neck, pelvic floor, and urinary sphincter; creation of urinary diversion; and repair of genitourinary fistulae.
Evidence synthesis: There is a need to study the robotic approach in carefully designed prospective studies to better establish safety and clinical efficacy as well as the economic viability as compared with laparoscopic and open approaches.
Conclusions: The use of the robotic minimally invasive approach has many potential advantages; however, there is a need for a high level of technical expertise and experience, especially in some of the complex and technically challenging scenarios often seen within FRU. Surgeons should ensure that they have received sufficient training in not only the surgical principles of FRU, but also the assessment, management, and follow-up of patients. Moreover, it is imperative not to compromise important surgical steps.
Patient summary: In this report, we looked into the use of robotic technologies in the treatment of functional and reconstructive problems of the urinary tract. We found that the robotic approach has not yet been evaluated in prospective clinical studies in this field. There is a need for carefully designed prospective studies to establish the safety and efficacy of robotic surgeries.
Keywords: Functional urology; Reconstruction; Robotic surgery.
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