Robots improve postop outcomes after esophageal surgery

Robotic surgeries could be the way of the future according to researchers at Allina Health. In a recent study published in Diseases of the Esophagus, researchers tested the safety and effectiveness of robotic assisted transhiatal esophagectomy (RATE) on patients.

RATE technology is able to give surgeons a more comprehensive view of a patient's lymph nodes. Researchers aimed to prove the technology could improve postoperative outcomes and tested the technology on 100 patients, 98 of which had esophageal cancer and two had benign tumors.

"Very few centers have adopted robots for this procedure because of the technical difficulties and unique skills that are needed by the surgeons and the operating room staff," said Daniel Dunn, MD, a retired Allina surgeon and the study's principle investigator. "But the robotic arms can turn and twist and reach more places than human hands will ever be able to."

The study, which collected data from 2007 to 2014, measured factors of blood loss, operative time, intensive care unit stay, length of stay, 30-day mortality and lymph node removed. Overall, researchers determined RATE to be bot safe and effective for surgery.

“In our experience, RATE is an effective and safe oncologic surgical procedure in a carefully selected group of patients with acceptable operative time, minimal blood loss, standard postoperative morbidity and adequate progression-free and overall survival profiles,” concluded Dunn and colleagues.