NEJM study on robotic bladder surgery may surprise surgeons, Yates tells Reuters

By Jim Fessenden

UMass Medical School Communications

July 25, 2014
  Jennifer Yates, MD
  Jennifer Yates, MD, talked to Reuters about the surprising results of a new study comparing robotic and conventional bladder surgery. 

The findings of a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine will give surgeons pause because they will be surprised by the results, Jennifer K. Yates, MD, told Reuters.

The study, which Dr. Yates was not involved in, found that robotic bladder surgery doesn’t reduce the risk of complications or shorten hospital stays compared with conventional “open” surgery.

“They’re going to say, ‘Hey, I’m kinda surprised by this.’ They’re also going to be encouraged that the complication rate was comparable,” said Yates, assistant professor of urology and director of minimally invasive urology at UMass Medical School.

The study of 118 patients marks the first ongoing comparison of the risks and benefits of the two techniques. Past studies concluded that the robotic technique meant less time in the hospital and fewer complications, but they were done by looking back at the records of already-treated patients.

Yates also cautioned that this was a small study that needs to be fleshed out with larger numbers. “You have to remember that Sloan Kettering is one of the more prominent high-volume institutions in the country. Whether this is generalizable to other institutions remains to be seen,” she said.

Read the full story here: Robot bladder surgery fails to deliver fewer complications

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