Robotic surgery in children's hospitals: Slight increase and common indications
Background: A growing number of tertiary children's hospitals are utilizing robotic surgical technology. We sought to characterize national trends in pediatric surgical robotic case utilization and related drivers.
Methods: Pediatric urology and pediatric surgery (abdominal and thoracic) procedures, performed from January 2010 to December 2019 across 19 U.S. tertiary care children's hospitals, were identified using the Pediatric Health Information System (PHIS). Trends in robot utilization were evaluated by surgical subspecialty, procedure type, and number of individual operating surgeons.
Results: Increases were noted in the overall numbers of pediatric surgery (1.3% per quarter, p = 0.005) and urology robotic procedures (2.0% per quarter, p < 0.001), as well as the numbers of pediatric surgeons (7.5% per year, p < 0.001) and pediatric urologists (7.8% per year, p < 0.001) operating robotically. Biliary system and spleen surgery were the most common robotic pediatric surgery procedures (45.5%) and had stable utilization over time (- 0.8% per quarter, 95% CI - 2.3-0.8). Robotic foregut surgery showed the most rapid growth in utilization (2.1% per quarter, 95% CI 0.7-3.6, p = 0.004) in pediatric surgery, while mediastinal/thoracic surgery demonstrated a decrease in utilization (- 4.6%, 95% CI - 7.9-1.2, p = 0.008). Renal pelvis/ureter surgery was the most common robotic urologic procedure (55.8%) and also demonstrated the fastest growth utilization (2.2% per quarter, 95% CI 1.5-2.9, p < 0.001) in urology.
Conclusions: Utilization of robotic-assisted surgery in pediatric surgery and pediatric urology has increased both in case volume and the number of operating surgeons, with foregut and renal pelvis/ureter surgery responsible for the areas of greatest growth.
Keywords: Fundoplication; Innovation; Minimally invasive; Pediatric surgery; Pediatric urology; Trends.