Robot-assisted versus standard videoscopic aortic replacement. A comparative study in pigs

J. P. Ruurda, W. Wisselink, M. A. Cuesta, H. J.M. Verhagen, I. A.M.J. Broeders*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background. Reconstruction of the infrarenal aorta for aneurysms is routinely performed through laparotomy. A less invasive videoscopic approach has not gained wide acceptance due to technical difficulties. Robotic systems could potentially improve imaging of the operative field and surgeon's dexterity during videoscopic surgery and therefore might facilitate the performance of this procedure. The aim of this animal study was to compare the safety and efficacy of a robot-assisted videoscopic aortic replacement to the standard videoscopic approach. Materials and methods. In 10 female pigs, the infrarenal aorta was partially replaced by a 10 mm polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) interposition graft through a videoscopic retroperitoneal approach, using the da Vinci robot system (robot group). Ten other pigs were operated on in a similar fashion, using standard videoscopic instruments (control group). Relevant procedure times, blood loss and complications were registered. Efficacy of the anastomoses was evaluated by measuring patency and blood loss after removing the clamps. Furthermore, circumference and number of stitches were evaluated at autopsy. Results. The procedure, suturing and clamping times were significantly shorter in the robot group and blood loss was less. In the control group, the inferior vena cava was injured in one pig. In two cases in the control group, haemostasis could not be established after clamp removal. At autopsy, all anastomoses in the robot group were adequate. In the control group, a stitch crossing the aortic lumen was found in two distal anastomoses and a large distance (> 3 mm) between two stitches was encountered at least once in 12/20 suture lines. All 20 grafts were patent. No anastomotic narrowing was encountered. The number of stitches used for proximal and distal anastomosis was higher in the robot group. Conclusion. This study demonstrates the superiority of robot-assisted videoscopic aortic replacement over standard videoscopic techniques in an animal model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-506
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2004

Cite this