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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 274-275

Robot-assisted pyeloplasty: The way forward

Department of Urology, Fortis Hospital Mulund, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission23-Feb-2020
Date of Acceptance04-Mar-2020
Date of Web Publication10-Sep-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Pankaj N Maheshwari
Fortis Hospital Mulund, Mulund-West, Mumbai - 400 080, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jmas.JMAS_59_20

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How to cite this article:
Maheshwari PN, Arora AM. Robot-assisted pyeloplasty: The way forward. J Min Access Surg 2021;17:274-5

How to cite this URL:
Maheshwari PN, Arora AM. Robot-assisted pyeloplasty: The way forward. J Min Access Surg [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Dec 6];17:274-5. Available from:

Over the years, many surgical procedures have evolved from the open approach to minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic techniques. This evolution replicated the efficacy and safety of the open approach while adding the benefits of smaller incisions, shorter convalescence and a reduced hospital stay. Historically, pyeloplasty has been the gold standard for the management of pelviureteric junction obstruction (PUJO), with the primary objective to prevent renal functional deterioration and relieve symptoms. Since its first description by Schuessler et al. in 1993, laparoscopic pyeloplasty has been widely adopted with a good success rate of 90%–95%. Recent trends show that the use of a laparoscopic approach for pyeloplasty has greatly increased.[1] However, there are technical challenges associated with the laparoscopic approach, as pyeloplasty needs strong laparoscopy experience with advanced laparoscopic skills including intracorporeal suturing and knotting.

Robotic surgery has shown significant advantages over standard laparoscopy. Tremor cancellation, three-dimensional vision and seven degrees of free movement allow the surgeon to optimally perform reconstructive and complex oncological procedures in confined working spaces. The application of robotic technology to laparoscopic pyeloplasty has reduced the steep learning curve and allowed the surgeons not adept at laparoscopy to offer this treatment to their patients. Robotics, with its 'endo-wrist' technology and improved visualization, has helped to reduce the challenges of laparoscopic suturing.[2] Robotic pyeloplasty is possible by both the transperitoneal and retroperitoneal approaches in adults as well as in the pediatric population.[3] Several associated anatomic variations such as lower moiety PUJO, malrotated kidney and crossing lower pole vessels in normal as well as anomalously placed kidneys can be treated. It has also proved useful for the repair of secondary PUJO, a procedure which is considered difficult with both open and conventional laparoscopic approach. Redo pyeloplasty as well as ureterocalycostomy can be performed robotically as a salvage procedure in this difficult situation.[4]

The robotic platform offers all benefits of pure laparoscopy with a much better ergonomics for the surgeon. This leads to a shorter learning curve with the robotic approach even for surgeons without a great deal of experience with laparoscopic pyeloplasty. Prior laparoscopic experience, or lack of it, does not influence one's dexterity while using the robotic platform.[5]

Finally, the pursuit of scarless cosmetic surgery has seen the development of laparoendoscopic single-site (LESS) procedures. These procedures have challenges like triangulation and motion restriction, especially for surgeries such as pyeloplasty that require multiple sutures. The application of robotics to LESS can also reduce the difficulty in performing conventional LESS pyeloplasty.[6]

Despite the advantages of the robotic approach, can it be the first choice access for pyeloplasty? Probably not immediately. First of all, the robotic system is still not widely available in many parts of the world. Even where availability is not an issue, increased cost involved with the use of the robotic platform would be a major hindrance for the patient as well as for the institution to choose robotic over standard laparoscopy. Finally, no particular approach has been shown to be superior to the other in terms of peri-operative outcomes and success rates.[7] This highlights the fact that results of dismembered pyeloplasty depend on the basic technique of performing the surgery and not the approach utilized to perform it.

It would seem unlikely that experienced laparoscopic surgeons who are well versed with intra-corporeal suturing would find any great benefit in shifting from pure laparoscopy to robotic approach. However, we believe that the easier learning curve and improved surgeon's quality of life and the fatigue scores, which are useful for surgeon longevity, could prompt young urologists to adopt the robotic approach, subject to availability of the system.[8]

Robot-assisted pyeloplasty has become widely popular and can be considered the approach of choice in the management of UPJO wherever infrastructure and finances permit.

  References Top

Jacobs BL, Kaufman SR, Morgenstern H, Hollenbeck BK, Wolf JS Jr., Hollingsworth JM. Trends in the treatment of adults with ureteropelvic junction obstruction. J Endourol 2013;27:355-60.  Back to cited text no. 1
Passerotti CC, Passerotti AM, Dall'Oglio MF, Leite KR, Nunes RL, Srougi M, et al. Comparing the quality of the suture anastomosis and the learning curves associated with performing open, freehand, and robotic-assisted laparoscopic pyeloplasty in a swine animal model. J Am Coll Surg 2009;208:576-86.  Back to cited text no. 2
Minnillo BJ, Cruz JA, Sayao RH, Passerotti CC, Houck CS, Meier PM, et al. Long-term experience and outcomes of robotic assisted laparoscopic pyeloplasty in children and young adults. J Urol 2011;185:1455-60.  Back to cited text no. 3
Ramanitharan M, Lalgudi Narayanan D, Sreenivasan SR, Sidhartha K, Mehra K, Rajiv K, et al. Outcomes of robot-assisted ureterocalicostomy in secondary ureteropelvic junction in adults: Initial experience using Da Vinci Xi system with near-infrared fluorescence imaging. J Laparoendosc Adv Surg Tech A 2020;30:48-52.  Back to cited text no. 4
Yoo BE, Kim J, Cho JS, Shin JW, Lee DW, Kwak JM, et al. Impact of laparoscopic experience on virtual robotic simulator dexterity. J Minim Access Surg 2015;11:68-71.  Back to cited text no. 5
Seideman CA, Tan YK, Faddegon S, Park SK, Best SL, Cadeddu JA, et al. Robot-assisted laparoendoscopic single-site pyeloplasty: Technique using the da Vinci Si robotic platform. J Endourol 2012;26:971-4.  Back to cited text no. 6
Light A, Karthikeyan S, Maruthan S, Elhage O, Danuser H, Dasgupta P. Peri-operative outcomes and complications after laparoscopic vs. robot-assisted dismembered pyeloplasty: A systematic review and meta-analysis. BJU Int 2018;122:181-94.  Back to cited text no. 7
Rasool S, Singh M, Jain S, Chaddha S, Tyagi V, Pawha M, et al. Comparison of open, laparoscopic and robot-assisted Pyeloplasty for pelviureteric junction obstruction in adult patients. J Robot Surg 2020;14:325-9.  Back to cited text no. 8


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