The emerging role for robotics in cholecystectomy: the dawn of a new era?
Though laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) was highly criticized in its early stages, it quickly grew to become a new standard of care and has revolutionized the field of general surgery. Now emerging robotic technology is making its way into the minimally invasive arena. Robotic cholecystectomy (RC) is often disparaged as a costly technology that can lead to increased operative times with outcomes that are quite similar to LC. However, this perspective is skewed as many existing studies were performed in the early phase of learning for this procedure. RC can be performed in a cost-effective manner as the volume of robotic procedures increases. In addition, improved visualization and capability to perform fluorescence cholangiography can improve the safety profile of cholecystectomy to a level that has not yet been achieved with conventional laparoscopy. Advanced simulation technology for robotic surgery, and newer single-site robotic platforms have the potential to further revolutionize this technology and lead to improved patient satisfaction. In this review, we will present current data, trends, and controversies in robotic-assisted cholecystectomy.