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Robotic Surgery in Gynaecology (Scientific Impact Paper No. 71)

This Scientific Impact Paper looks at the use of robotics in different fields of gynaecological surgery, including cancers and endometriosis. It considers impact on surgical performance and complications, and discusses safety and effectiveness compared with conventional keyhole surgery.

Plain language summary

The use of robotic-assisted keyhole surgery in gynaecology has expanded in recent years owing to technical advances.

These include 3D viewing leading to improved depth perception, limitation of tremor, potential for greater precision and discrimination of tissues, a shorter learning curve and improved comfort for surgeons compared with conventional keyhole and open abdominal surgery.

Robotic-assisted keyhole surgery, compared with conventional keyhole surgery, improves surgical performance without increasing operating time, minimises blood loss and intra- or postoperative complications, while reducing the need to revert to abdominal surgery.

Moreover, surgeons using a robot experience fewer skeletomuscular problems of their own in the short and long term than those operating without a robot as an additional tool.

This Scientific Impact Paper looks at the use of a robot in different fields of gynaecological surgery.

A robot could be considered safe and a more effective surgical tool than conventional keyhole surgery for women who have to undergo complex gynaecology surgery or have associated medical issues such as body–mass index (BMI) at 30 kg/m2 or above or lung problems.

The introduction of the use of robots in keyhole surgery has resulted in a decrease in the number of traditional open surgeries and the risk of conversion to open surgery after traditional keyhole surgery; both of which should be considered when examining the cost–benefit of using a robot.

Limitations of robotic-assisted surgery remain the associated higher costs.

In womb cancer surgery there is good evidence that introducing robotics into the service improves outcomes for women and may reduce costs.

COVID disclaimer

This Scientific Impact Paper was developed prior to the emergence of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Version history

This is the first edition of this paper.

Please note that the Scientific Advisory Committee regularly assesses the need to update. Further information on this review is available on request.

Developer declaration of interests

Available upon request.