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Patients' experience of robotic-assisted surgery: a qualitative study

23 March 2023
Volume 32 · Issue 6



The use of robotic-assisted surgery (RAS) has increased considerably since its introduction in 2001, with RAS now being widely accepted as a surgical modality. Current literature surrounding RAS focuses on the surgical team's experience rather than the patient's perspective, with limited qualitative research on post-RAS patient experience.


To explore patient-reported experience following RAS.


Twelve semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted. Interviews were audio recorded with data transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic analysis.


Themes included: factors specific to the robotic modality and psychological factors. Participant concerns emanated from their experience of a lack of pre-operative preparation, resulting in feelings of anxiety and some negative perceptions of RAS.


Given the limited time for patient preparation for RAS, work developing patient information that is also patient-led would be of benefit. Pre-operative preparation is a key nursing role’ and further research could explore nurses' experiences of preparing patients for RAS, facilitators and barriers to providing optimum patient preparation in this context.

Ro botic-assisted surgery (RAS) has become widely accepted across several specialties since the introduction of the da Vinci surgical system in 2001 (Dunn, 2022). Dawka (2016) described RAS as a modality that positions a computer-assisted device between surgeon and patient. Movements performed by the surgeon at the console are mirrored by the robotic arms that perform the procedure, ensuring the control of the procedure lies with the operating surgeon. The advantages of RAS are well documented. These include a three-dimensional view, increased dexterity and precision, tremor elimination, motion scaling and improved surgeon ergonomics (Casillas et al, 2014; Trinh et al, 2014; Randell et al, 2016; Sinha et al, 2021).

Use of RAS is increasing, with more than 200 000 RAS procedures performed worldwide by 2009 (Weissman and Zinner, 2013). According to a robotic surgery evaluation in The Lancet (The Lancet, 2016), the number of robotic radical prostatectomies increased in the USA from 1.8% in 2003 to 85% in 2013 and, in the UK, 90% of radical prostatectomies are completed using RAS (Dasgupta, 2022). Maitra and Date (2019) stated that RAS is an accepted modality for several specialties including urology, gynaecology, otolaryngology and general surgery, with a noted upsurge in use. More recently, Mayor et al (2022) stated that there are almost 6000 da Vinci robots now operating worldwide, which have completed 8.5 million surgeries.

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