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Experience with 10 years of a robotic surgery program at an Academic Medical Center.



Few studies have examined robotic surgery from a programmatic standpoint, yet this is how hospitals evaluate return on investment clinically and fiscally. This study examines the 10-year experience of a robotic program at a single academic institution.

Study design

All robotic operations performed at our institution from August 2005 to December 2016 were reviewed. Data were collected from the robotic system and hospital databases.


A total of 3485 robotic operations were performed. Yearly case volume nearly quadrupled. There have been 37 robotic-trained surgeons in 5 specialties performing 53 different operations. Rate of conversion to open was 4.2%. American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) class increased over time, with ASA class 3 increasing from 20% of patients to 45% of patients. Average case time in 2005 was 453 min, but decreased by 46% to 246 min by 2007, then remained relatively stable (range 226-247). Operating efficiency improved, with room time and case time decreasing by 9% in the past 4 years. Average cost for robotic supplies was $1519 per case. Additional costs per case related to equipment and contracts totaled an average of $11,822. Average length of stay (LOS) for robotic cases was 3.3 days, compared to 3.0 days for laparoscopic and 7.0 for open. Cost per day for admission after robotic surgery was 1.7 times greater than the cost of open or laparoscopic surgery. Total admission costs of robotic operations were 1.5 times those of laparoscopic surgery, but less than open operations. Readmissions following robotic cases were lower than open (15% v 26%, p < 0.0001).


Over 10 years, the use of robotic technology has grown significantly at our institution, with good fiscal and clinical outcomes. Operating room costs are high; however, efficiency has improved, LOS is shorter, admission costs are lower than open operations, and readmission rates are lower.

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