Background: Robotic gastrectomy (RG) has increased since being covered by universal health insurance in 2018. However, to ensure patient safety the operating surgeon and facility must meet specific requirements. We aimed to determine whether RG has been safely implemented under the requirements for universal health insurance in Japan. Methods: Data of consecutive patients with primary gastric cancer who underwent minimally invasive total or distal gastrectomy—performed by a surgeon certified by the Japan Society for Endoscopic Surgery (JSES) endoscopic surgical skill qualification system (ESSQS) between October 2018 and December 2019—were extracted from the gastrointestinal surgery section of the National Clinical Database (NCD). The primary outcome was morbidity over Clavien–Dindo classification grade IIIa. Patient demographics and hospital volume were matched between RG and laparoscopic gastrectomy (LG) using propensity score-matched analysis (PSM), and the short-term outcomes of RG and LG were compared. Results: After PSM, 2671 patients who underwent RG and 2671 who underwent LG were retrieved (from a total of 9881), and the standardized difference of all the confounding factors reduced to 0.07 or less. Morbidity rates did not differ between the RG and LG patients (RG, 4.9% vs. LG, 3.9%; p = 0.084). No difference was observed in 30-day mortality (RG, 0.2% vs. LG, 0.1%; p = 0.754). The reoperation rate was greater following RG (RG, 2.2% vs. LG, 1.2%; p = 0.004); however, the duration of postoperative hospitalization was shorter (RG, 10 [8–13] days vs. LG, 11 [9–14] days; p < 0.001). Conclusions: Insurance-covered RG has been safely implemented nationwide.
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