Background: Internationally, the utilization of minimally invasive techniques for gastric cancer resection has been increasing since first introduced in 1994. In the USA, the feasibility and safety of these techniques for cancer have not yet been demonstrated. Methods: The University HealthSystem Consortium database was queried for gastrectomies performed between 2008 and 2013. Any adult patient with an abdominal visceral malignancy that necessitated gastric resection was included in the cohort. Clinicopathological and in-hospital outcome metrics were collected for open, laparoscopic, and robotic procedures. Results: Open gastrectomies comprised 89.5 % of the total study group, while 8.2 % of procedures were performed laparoscopically, and 2.3 % were performed with robotic assistance. When accounting for disparities in patient severity of illness and risk of mortality subclass designations, there were no significant differences in mean length of stay, 30-day readmission, and in-hospital mortality between the three groups; however, mean total cost was highest in the robotic-assisted group (P = 0.017). Overall, complication rates were also similar; however, there was a higher incidence of superficial infection in the laparoscopic group (P = 0.013) and a higher incidence of venous thromboembolism in the robotic group (P = 0.038). Conclusion: Despite widespread adoption for benign indications, minimally invasive gastrectomy for cancer remains underutilized in the USA. In these patients, laparoscopic and robot-assisted gastrectomies appear to be comparable to open resection with respect to overall complications, length of stay, 30-day readmission, and in-hospital mortality. However, when employing minimally invasive techniques, infection and thromboembolism risk reduction strategies should be emphasized in the operative and postoperative periods.
ASJC Scopus subject areas