Background

Bariatric surgery aims to achieve weight loss and reduce weight-related co-morbidities with minimal complications. Laparoscopic bariatric surgery has long been the standard with an acceptably low complication rate. There is a growing body of evidence regarding robotic bariatric surgery and its outcomes. However, the precise role of robotics in bariatric surgery is not yet defined.

Methods

Patient who underwent either laparoscopic or robotic sleeve gastrectomy (SG) or roux-en-y gastric bypass (RYGB) from 2016 to 2018 by a single experienced bariatric surgeon at Baylor University Medical Center were included. A retrospective chart review of 314 patients in a prospective data base primarily examined length of stay and 30 day readmissions and complications for the two groups of patients.

Results

The operation duration was longer for the robotic surgeries: 102.5 vs. 82.8 minutes for SG and 175.7 vs. 136.1 minutes for RYGB. There was a trend towards a shorter hospital stay for the robotic bypass group (3.5 vs. 1.3 days) but this was not statistically significant. There were no significant complications and the readmission rate was under 5% with no difference between robotic and laparoscopic groups for both SG and RYGB.

Conclusions

Bariatric surgery can be safely performed both robotically and laparoscopically with acceptably low rates of complications and readmissions. Although there were not enough numbers to obtain a statistical significance there was a trend towards shorter hospital stays, possibly justifying the longer operative time for robotic RYGB.