The main criticism of robotic surgery is longer operative time (OT). The aim of this study was to examine the variables that determine OT, the association between OT and 30-day outcomes, and the effect of the robotic approach in bariatric surgery.
MBSAQIP data for 2016 to 2019 were queried. Logistic regression was performed to examine the association between OT and outcomes for each surgical approach while adjusting for patients’ characteristics. The results of each fitted logistic regression model were reported as odds ratio and the associated 95% CI.
A total of 666,182 patients underwent robotic sleeve gastrectomy (R-SG), laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, robotic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (R-RYGB), laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, robotic duodenal switch (R-DS), and laparoscopic duodenal switch). More patients underwent laparoscopic surgery (89.7%) than robotic surgery (10.3%). OT for robotic cases was longer than for laparoscopic cases (p < 0.0001). Longer OT was associated with increased odds of adverse 30-day outcomes irrespective of the surgical approach. The association between OT and adverse outcomes was stronger in the laparoscopic cohort. There was no significant difference in postoperative outcomes when comparing the laparoscopic and robotic approaches after adjusting for OT, except a lower reoperation rate for R-SG (p = 0.03) and readmission rates in R-RYGB and R-DS (p < 0.01). The variability of OT was higher in the laparoscopic group and was more affected by the first assistant.
The outcomes in robotic bariatric surgery were comparable with the laparoscopic approach despite longer OT. Use of robotic surgery decreased the variability in OT.