The aim of this study was to compare perioperative complications by route of hysterectomy before and after the introduction of robotic surgery.
This is an ancillary analysis of a multicenter, retrospective cohort study with historical controls through the Fellows’ Pelvic Research Network. Hysterectomies performed for benign conditions were collected prior to introduction of the robot (prerobot) and the year after introduction of the robot (postrobot) at each institution. To obtain a representative annual case distribution for each institution, a maximum of 20 cases per month were selected using stratified random sampling. Patient demographics and intraoperative and postoperative complication data were collected.
One thousand four hundred forty cases were included in this study, 732 in the prerobot and 708 in the postrobot period. Intraoperative complications in the prerobot group were highest in the abdominal group (7.4%) followed by vaginal (3.9%) and laparoscopic (3.7%) groups. Postoperative complications were higher in the vaginal (8.3%) and abdominal (7.4%) groups compared with laparoscopic (1.8%) groups (P = 0.03), because of a higher proportion of infections. In the postrobot period, intraoperative complications were lower in the vaginal (2.8%), robotic (3%), and laparoscopic (4.6%) groups compared with abdominal (10.8%) (P = 0.04). Postoperative complications were lowest in the vaginal (5.1%), laparoscopic (3.6%), and robotic (3%) approaches compared with the abdominal (13.9%) approach (P = 0.003).
Vaginal hysterectomy has comparable rates of perioperative complications when compared with robotic and laparoscopic approaches and should be considered as a primary surgical approach in the growing armamentarium of minimally invasive approaches for hysterectomy for benign conditions.