Objectives: To investigate the safety of robotic surgery during COVID-19 pandemic concerning new-acquired COVID-19 infections for patients and healthcare workers.
Patients: We performed a retrospective single-centre cohort study of patients undergoing robotic surgery in initial period of COVID-19 pandemic. Patients and healthcare workers COVID-19 infection status was assessed by structured telephone follow-up and/or repeated nasopharyngeal swabs.
Results: After 61 robotic surgeries (93,5% cancer surgery), one patient (1.6%) had COVID-19 infection. Sixty healthcare workers cumulatively exposed to 1187 h of robotic surgery had no infection. One patient with postoperative proof of SARS-CoV-2 had complete recovery. After this potentially contagious robotic surgery, eight healthcare workers had no COVID-19 infection after follow-up with each three nasopharyngeal swabs.
Conclusions: Early clinical experience of robotic surgery during COVID-19 pandemic shows that robotic surgery can be safely performed for patients and healthcare workers. Despite our results we recommend elective surgery only for verified COVID-19 negative patients.
Keywords: 2019-nCoV; SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus; infection; robotics; safety.
© 2021 The Authors. The International Journal of Medical Robotics and Computer Assisted Surgery published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.