Background: We have previously reported that laparoscopic approach improved short-term postoperative courses even for advanced gastric adenocarcinoma, but not morbidity, in comparison with open approach. The objective of this study was to determine the impact of the use of the surgical robot, da Vinci Surgical System, in minimally invasive radical gastrectomy on short-term outcomes. Methods: A single institutional retrospective cohort study was performed (UMIN000011749). Five hundred twenty-six patients who underwent radical gastrectomy were enrolled. Eighty-eight patients who agreed to uninsured use of the surgical robot underwent robotic gastrectomy, whereas the remaining 438 patients who wished for laparoscopic (lap) approach with health insurance coverage underwent conventional laparoscopic gastrectomy. Results: In the robotic group, morbidity (robotic vs lap 2.3 vs 11.4 %, p = 0.009) and hospital stay following surgery (robotic vs lap 14 [2–31] vs 15 [8–136] days, p = 0.021) were significantly improved, even though operative time (p = 0.003) and estimated blood loss (p = 0.026) were slightly greater. In particular, local (robotic vs lap 1.1 vs 9.8 %, p = 0.007) rather than systemic (robotic vs lap 1.1 vs 2.5 %, p = 0.376) complication rates were attenuated using the surgical robot. Multivariate analyses revealed that non-use of the surgical robot (OR 6.174 [1.454–26.224], p = 0.014), total gastrectomy (OR 4.670 [2.503–8.713], p < 0.001), and D2 lymphadenectomy (OR 2.095 [1.124–3.903], p = 0.020) were the significant independent risk factors determining postoperative complications. Conclusions: The use of the surgical robot might reduce surgery-related complications, leading to further improvement in short-term postoperative courses following minimally invasive radical gastrectomy.
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