Objective: Robotic telemanipulation systems have been introduced recently to enhance the surgeon's dexterity and visualization in endoscopic surgery and thus facilitate refined dissection, suturing, and knot tying. This study examined the technical feasibility of performing safe and efficient robot-assisted, hand-sewn endoscopic airway reconstruction in a rabbit model. Methods: A total of 18 tracheal anastomoses were performed in rabbits, with 6 anastomoses performed endoscopically using the da Vinci Surgical system (Robot group), 6 anastomoses performed using traditional thoracoscopic surgical instruments (VATS group), and 6 anastomoses performed using open surgical instruments (Open group). Anastomosis time and complications were recorded. The effectiveness of anastomoses was evaluated by postoperative observation of all rabbits for 8 weeks and measurement of anastomotic stricture and pathologic findings. These parameters and anastomosis time were compared between groups. Results: In all cases in the Robot group, the procedure was completed endoscopically. No perioperative or postoperative complications were encountered. Mean procedure time of the Robot group was 14.1 ± 2.6 minutes (mean ± standard deviation). Anastomosis time in the Robot group was significantly shorter than in the VATS group (33.5 ± 5.2 minutes, P = .0039) and was not significantly different in the Open group (11.4 ± 2.3 minutes, P = .1282). All anastomoses in the Robot group remained mechanically intact, and all parameters were comparable with those of the open surgery group. Conclusions: The technical feasibility of performing safe and efficient robot-assisted endoscopic airway reconstruction was repeatedly demonstrated in a rabbit model. Robotic assistance significantly improved the time associated with and the quality of endoscopic airway reconstruction. © 2007 The American Association for Thoracic Surgery.
Waseda, R., Ishikawa, N., Oda, M., Matsumoto, I., Ohta, Y., Inaki, N., … Watanabe, G. (2007). Robot-assisted endoscopic airway reconstruction in rabbits, with the aim to perform robot-assisted thoracoscopic bronchoplasty in human subjects. Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, 134(4), 989–995. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcvs.2007.07.002