Room Size Influences Flow in Robotic-Assisted Surgery

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jul 28;18(15):7984. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18157984.


The introduction of surgical technology into existing operating rooms (ORs) can place novel demands on staff and infrastructure. Despite the substantial physical size of the devices in robotic-assisted surgery (RAS), the workspace implications are rarely considered. This study aimed to explore the impact of OR size on the environmental causes of surgical flow disruptions (FDs) occurring during RAS. Fifty-six RAS procedures were observed at two academic hospitals between July 2019 and January 2021 across general, urologic, and gynecologic surgical specialties. A multiple regression analysis demonstrated significant effects of room size in the pre-docking phase (t = 2.170, df = 54, β = 0.017, p = 0.035) where the rate of FDs increased as room size increased, and docking phase (t = -2.488, df = 54, β = -0.017, p = 0.016) where the rate of FDs increased as room size decreased. Significant effects of site (pre-docking phase: p = 0.000 and docking phase: p = 0.000) were also demonstrated. Findings from this study demonstrate hitherto unrecognized spatial challenges involved with introducing surgical robots into the operating domain. While new technology may provide benefits towards patient safety, it is important to consider the needs of the technology prior to integration.

Keywords: flow disruptions; layout; operating room; operating room design; robotic-assisted surgery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Operating Rooms
  • Patient Safety
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures*