Background Achieving aortic anastomosis in laparoscopic surgery remains a technical challenge. The Da Vinci robot could theoretically counteract this issue by minimizing the technical challenge. The aim of this study was to compare the learning curves of performing vascular anastomoses by trainees without any experience using purely laparoscopic versus robotic-assisted techniques. Methods Surgery residents were randomly included in the laparoscopic group (group A, n = 3) and the robotic group (group B, n = 3). They performed 10 end-to-end anastomoses on 18-mm-diameter tubular expanded polytetrafluoroethylene grafts. The parameters recorded were duration to complete the anastomosis and an indirect sealing quality evaluation (ISQE) defined as the following ratio: number of stitches with a distance of less than 4 mm/total number of stitches. Results The mean duration to perform the anastomosis decreased from 2340 s (±64) for the first anastomosis to 651 s (±248) for the last in group A (P < 0.05) and from 1989 s (±556) to 801 s (±120) in group B (P < 0.05). The mean ISQE increased from 74% (±18) for the first anastomosis to 98% (±3) for the last in group A (P < 0.05) and decreased from 100% to 98% (±2) in group B (nonsignificant). The mean duration to perform the first anastomosis was lower in group B than in group A (P < 0.05). The mean duration to perform the last anastomosis was not significantly different between the groups. Sealing tended to be better in group B for the first anastomosis compared with group A. Conclusions Minimally invasive laparoscopic technique training demonstrates a learning curve to perform vascular anastomoses. The robotic-assisted technique tended to improve suturing skills and should be considered as a valuable tool to reduce the technical learning curve.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine