A review of the role of robotics in bariatric surgery: finding our future?


Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center

Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center


Introduction: Obesity rates continue to rise in America and around the World. Numerous studies show the benefit of bariatric surgery on all-cause mortality in obese patients. Given its substantial role in the future of patient care, we continue to search for the most beneficial ways to optimize patient outcomes and procedural costs in bariatric surgery. Much like laparoscopy was found to greatly improve the morbidity of weight loss surgery, we seek to evaluate the role of robotic surgery in bariatric procedures.

Methods: We critically reviewed the available literature accessed through PubMed on the use of robotics in bariatric surgery. We aim to provide an overview of the conclusions from the most recent publications with commentary by the authors. Results: Although the outliers exist, it would appear that the majority of cases point to robotic surgery increasing operating room time and cost without providing significant generalizable improvements in patient outcomes. Promise exists in the use for special groups such as super obese patients or revisional bariatric procedures, however current studies in this subset are equally variable in their outcomes.

Conclusion: Despite the current assumptions, we believe there is a future in bariatric surgery for robotics. This may inevitably be seen in the more demanding and difficult cases or in the advancement of the available technology. Likely, as robotics continues to mature, applied artificial intelligence will provide enhanced cues during surgery that augment the surgeon's judgment and skill and result in unanimously improved patient outcomes

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