Monday, July 28, 2014

This one won't be on the daVinci website

The Baltimore Sun reports on a study:

Using robotic techniques to remove a cancerous bladder doesn't reduce the risk of complications compared with conventional "open" surgery, according to a new comparison of 118 patients conducted by surgeons at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

The study, detailed in the New England Journal of Medicine, 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.

"There's been a lot of hype surrounding robots and it's been hard to gain perspective," said Dr. Vincent Laudone, one of the coauthors.

"Bottom line: It looks like it was pretty much a wash," Laudone told Reuters Health. For patients, it means "if you're going to a surgeon who is experienced in traditional surgery and recommends traditional surgery, that's a reasonable recommendation."

"These results highlight the need for randomized trials to inform the benefits and risks of new surgical technologies before widespread implementation," he and his colleagues concluded.

Really? What a great idea.

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