Selecting incision-dominant cases for robotic liver resection: towards outpatient hepatectomy with rapid recovery

Laleh G. Melstrom, Susanne G. Warner, Yanghee Woo, Virginia Sun, Byrne Lee, Gagandeep Singh, Yuman Fong


Background: The premise of minimally invasive surgery (MIS) is to minimize facial and muscle injury in order to enhance recovery from surgery. Robotic MIS surgery for resection of tumors in solid organs is gaining traction, though clear superiority of this approach is lacking and robotic surgery is more expensive. Our philosophy in robotically-assisted hepatectomy has been to employ this approach for cases where location of tumors make difficult a classical laparoscopic approach (superior/posterior tumors), and cases where the incision for an open operation dominates the course of recovery.
Methods: This is a retrospective review of a prospectively collected database.
Results: In this study we report 97 cases of liver resection subjected to the robotic approach, of which 90% were resected robotically. The mean operative time was 186±9 min; mean blood loss was 111±15 mL, and complications occurred in 9%. Two thirds of the patients remained in hospital 3 days or less, including three patients subjected to hemihepatectomy (2 left and 1 right). Fourteen individuals were discharged on the same day. The strongest predictors of long hospital stay (>3 days) were major hepatectomy (P=0.007), complications (P=0.008), and operative time >210 min (P=0.001).
Conclusions: With thoughtful case selection, this is a first demonstration that hepatec-tomy can be conducted as an out-patient or short-stay procedure.