Article Abstract

What happens while learning robotic lobectomy for lung cancer?

Authors: Mehmet Oğuzhan Özyurtkan, Erkan Kaba, Alper Toker


A surgeon needs to perform a sufficient number of procedures to achieve a level of proficiency. Learning curves demonstrate ongoing improvement in efficiency over the course of a surgeon’s carrier. When the surgeon learns the procedure, this means that he has the ability to perform that procedure safely and effectively. The instruction of the da Vinci Surgical System (Initiative Surgical, Sunnyvale, CA, USA) provoked the need for preparing surgeons for complex robotic skills. As low as 5 repetitions are enough to achieve proficiency on basic robotic skills. Robotic-assisted thoracic surgery (RATS) has a steep learning curve compared to video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS), and it was proposed that 15 to 20 operations are required to establish a learning curve for RATS anatomical pulmonary resections. Based on several studies, one can conclude that after learning, there is a tendency to toward shorter operative times, a decrease in conversion, morbidity and mortality rates, as well as an increase in the number of resected lymph nodes. Our clinical experience on 129 patients undergoing RATS anatomic pulmonary resections over a period of 5-year demonstrated that the learning curve could be established after 14th operation, and the acquired surgical skills and developing experience let surgeon to obtain shorter operative times, operate larger tumors with more advanced stages, have an increased the number of the dissected lymph nodes.