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Mederos MA, Jacob RL, Ward R, Shenoy R, Gibbons MM, Girgis MD, Kansagara D, Hynes D, Shekelle PG, Kondo K. Trends in Robot-Assisted Procedures for General Surgery in the Veterans Health Administration. The Journal of surgical research. 2022 Nov 1; 279:788-795.
INTRODUCTION: Implementation of robot-assisted procedures is growing. Utilization within the country''s largest healthcare network, the Veterans Health Administration, is unclear. METHODS: A retrospective cohort study using data from the Department of Veterans Affairs Corporate Data Warehouse from January 2015 through December 2019. Trends in robot utilization for cholecystectomy, ventral hernia repair, and inguinal hernia repair were characterized nationally and regionally by Veterans Integrated Services Network. Patients, who underwent laparoscopic repairs for these procedures and open hernia repairs, were included to determine proportion performed robotically. RESULTS: We identified 119,191 patients, of which 5689 (4.77%) received a robotic operation. The proportion of operations performed robotically increased from 1.49% to 10.55% (7.08-fold change; slope, 2.14% per year; 95% confidence interval [0.79%, 3.49%]). Ventral hernia repair had the largest growth in robotic procedures (1.51% to 13.94%; 9.23-fold change; slope, 2.86% per year; 95% confidence interval [1.04%, 4.68%]). Regions with the largest increase in robotic utilization were primarily along the Northeast, Midwest, and West Coast. CONCLUSIONS: Robot utilization in general surgery is increasing at different rates across the United States in the Veterans Health Administration. Future studies should investigate the regional disparities and drivers of this approach.