BOSTON – Patients who receive robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery (RALS), an increasingly widespread facet of surgical medicine, tend to be higher income white males, according to an extensive new study presented at Minimally Invasive Surgery Week.
“We wanted to look at how the technology is rolling out … and what some of those characteristics are that are occurring, not only with the types of patients that are picking up these surgeries but also who the surgeons are that are performing these surgeries,” the study’s lead investigator, Michael A. Palese, MD, of Mount Sinai Health System, New York, explained during a video interview.
A total of 63,725 RALS cases were included, all of which occurred during 2009-2015. In addition to affluent white males being the predominant recipients of this type of surgery, younger white male surgeons tended to be the ones more likely to perform RALS. Across specialties, RALS use has increased substantially over the study period, with the largest increases seen among cardiothoracic surgeons (from 197 cases, 3.1% of all cases per year, to 1,159, 8.7% of all cases). Among general surgeons, RALS use increased from 98 cases (3.2%) to 2,559 cases (19.1%), and for orthopedic surgeons, 55 (0.8%) to 985 (7.4%).
Dr. Palese discussed the genesis of the study, the importance of the study’s findings, and where he foresees RALS heading in the near future. He did not report any relevant financial disclosures.