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Outcomes in conventional laparoscopic versus robotic-assisted primary bariatric surgery: a retrospective, case–controlled study of the MBSAQIP database



Robotic-assisted bariatric surgery is increasingly performed. There remains controversy about the overall benefit of robotic-assisted (RBS) compared to conventional laparoscopic (LBS) bariatric surgery. In this study, we used a large national risk-stratified bariatric clinical database to compare outcomes between robotic and laparoscopic gastric bypass (RNYGB) and sleeve gastrectomy (SG).


A retrospective analysis of the 2015 and 2016 Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP) Participant Use Data File (PUF) was performed. Primary robotic and laparoscopic RYNGB and SG were analyzed. Descriptive analysis was performed of the unmatched cohorts, followed by 1:3 case-controlled matching. Cases and controls were matched by patient demographics and pre-operative comorbidities, and peri-operative outcomes compared.


77,991 Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RnYGB) (7.5% robotic-assisted) and 189,503 SG (6.8% robotic-assisted) cases were identified. Operative length was significantly higher in both the robotic-assisted RnYGB and SG cohorts (p < 0.0001). Outcomes were similar between the robotic-assisted and laparoscopic RnYGB cohorts, except a lower mortality rate (p = 0.05), transfusion requirement (p = 0.005), aggregate bleeding (p = 0.04), and surgical site infections (SSI) (p = 0.006) in the robotic-assisted cohort. Outcomes were also similar between robotic-assisted and laparoscopic SG, except for a longer length of stay (p < 0.0001) and higher rates of conversion (p < 0.0001), 30-day intervention (p = 0.01), operative drain present (p < 0.0001), sepsis (p = 0.01), and organ space SSI (p = 0.0002) in the robotic cohort. Bleeding was lower in the robotic SG cohort and mortality was similar.


Both robotic-assisted and laparoscopic RnYGB and SG are overall very safe. Robotic-assisted gastric bypass is associated with a lower mortality and morbidity; however, a clear benefit for robotic-assisted SG compared to laparoscopic SG was not seen. Given the longer operative and hospital duration, robotic SG is not cost-effective.

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Our research was supported by the Department of Surgery at Temple University Hospital and the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

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Correspondence to Michael A. Edwards.

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Drs. Edwin Acevedo, Jr., Michael Mazzei, Huaqing Zhao, Rohit Soans, Michael A. Edwards, and Mr. Xioaoning Lu have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Acevedo, E., Mazzei, M., Zhao, H. et al. Outcomes in conventional laparoscopic versus robotic-assisted primary bariatric surgery: a retrospective, case–controlled study of the MBSAQIP database. Surg Endosc 34, 1353–1365 (2020).

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  • Primary bariatric surgery
  • Robotic-assisted
  • Conventional laparoscopic