June 18, 2024

Study: Liver surgery safe for outpatient settings

Editor's Note

Robotic liver surgery can be performed safely as an outpatient procedure, according to findings from the City of Hope cancer research organization in Duarte, California.

According to a June 10 press release, the study analyzed data of 307 patients who underwent outpatient robotic liver surgery (defined as requiring less than two nights in a hospital) from 2013 to 2023. Of that total, that 8% of patients sampled were discharged from the hospital on the same day. Additionally, robotic liver surgery showed a significantly lower readmission rate compared to traditional open surgery, at 1.6% versus  20-25%, respectively.

This reduction in readmissions contributes to lower healthcare costs, with unplanned readmissions in the U.S. costing around $30 billion annually, the press release notes.

“Not long ago, liver resections were considered an open surgery procedure that requires a fairly big incision,” said lead researcher Yuman Fong, MD, chair of surgical oncology at City of Hope and director of the organization's Center for Surgical Innovation. “Patients oftentimes need to stay in the hospital five to 14 days, and they’re often admitted to intensive care units. Even after leaving the hospital, recovery from such surgeries will often take three to six weeks. In this study of robotic surgery, we found that by one week many of these patients were able to take 5,000 to 6,000 steps.”

Titled “Outpatient and Ambulatory Extended Recovery Robotic Hepatectomy: Multinational Study of 307 Cases” the study was published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons on May 21. 

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