Comparison of robotic versus laparoscopic right colectomy node retrieval in the obese population

J Robot Surg. 2023 Aug;17(4):1349-1355. doi: 10.1007/s11701-023-01529-7. Epub 2023 Jan 13.


Data are scarce comparing robotic and laparoscopic colectomy node retrieval based on body mass index or age. With differences in anastomosis, mobilization, and ligation between these approaches, obese and/or elderly patients undergoing robotic surgery may have differences in node yield compared to laparoscopy. A retrospective review was conducted between four institutions from February 1, 2019 through August 1, 2021, during which 144 right colectomies were performed. Benign pathology, open colectomies, and conversions to open were excluded. All included surgeons had at least five patients to ensure experience. The population was categorized by a robotic or laparoscopic approach. Records were reviewed focusing on age, body mass index, surgical approach, anastomosis, pathology, and node count. The node count was then compared by body mass index and age between the robotic or laparoscopic approach to identify differences. After applied exclusions and outlier analysis, our final sample consisted of 80 patients. Both body mass index and age were significant, (p = 0.002 and p = 0.005, respectively). Body mass index ≤ 25.0 and age < 60 years old had higher average node counts. These variables interacted, (p = 0.003); those with both < 60 years old and body mass index ≤ 25 showed the greatest number of nodes (36.9). Laparoscopy yielded more nodes in ≥ 60 years old than robotics (27.4 verses 20.9), though this was not significant (p = 0.68). Node retrieval in overweight and obese patients did not differ between approaches (p = 0.48). Both body mass index and age influence the number of nodes that can be extracted in right hemicolectomies by experienced surgeons.

Keywords: Age; Colectomy; Colon cancer; Lymph node; Obesity.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Colectomy
  • Colonic Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures* / methods
  • Treatment Outcome