Robotic gastrointestinal surgery: learning curve, educational programs and outcomes

Charles C. Vining, Kinga B. Skowron, Melissa E. Hogg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The use of the robotic platform for gastrointestinal surgery was introduced nearly 20 years ago. However, significant growth and advancement has occurred primarily in the last decade. This is due to several advantages over traditional laparoscopic surgery allowing for more complex dissections and reconstructions. Several randomized controlled trials and retrospective reviews have demonstrated equivalent oncologic outcomes compared to open surgery with improved short-term outcomes. Unfortunately, there are currently no universally accepted or implemented training programs for robotic surgery and robotic surgery experience varies greatly. Additionally, several limitations to the robotic platform exist resulting in a distinct learning curve associated with various procedures. Therefore, implementation of robotic surgery requires a multidisciplinary team approach with commitment and investment from clinical faculty, operating room staff and hospital administrators. Additionally, there is a need for wider distribution of educational modules to train more surgeons and reduce the associated learning curve. This article will focus on the implementation of the robotic platform for surgery of the pancreas, stomach, liver, colon and rectum with an emphasis on the associated learning curve, educational platforms to develop proficiency and perioperative outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)799-814
Number of pages16
JournalUpdates in Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery


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