Surgeons at Stanford have developed a robotic-assisted gastric bypass procedure that was shown to be qualitatively easier to perform and had a shorter intraoperative time. The system they used was the previously covered da Vinci Surgical System from Intuitive Surgical. From the press release:
Gastric bypass procedures are notorious among surgeons for being technically complicated and difficult. Curet and her colleagues therefore wanted to develop a protocol to make the surgery easier on both the patient and the surgeon. To investigate whether the robotic system could safely and effectively streamline the process, the authors compared the results of 10 robotic surgeries with 10 conventional laparoscopic procedures.
They found that the robotic system makes the surgery qualitatively easier. For example, the surgeon can sit comfortably at the robot’s control unit and gently operate joysticks, instead of having to stand over the patient for several hours wrestling with hand tools. But the robotic procedure also yielded a quantifiable benefit: median surgical times were approximately 30 minutes shorter using the robot than they were using hand tools.
The robot might also save time for surgeons in the long term. While the first few robotic operations can take longer than conventional methods for an inexperienced surgeon, “the learning curve is shortened with the robot,” Curet said.