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Hand-Assisted Robotic Surgery for Staging of Ovarian Cancer and Uterine Cancers With High Risk of Peritoneal Spread: A Retrospective Cohort Study
  1. Hubert Fornalik, MD,
  2. Hannah Brooks, MD,
  3. Elizabeth S. Moore, PhD,
  4. Nicole L. Flanders, PA-C,
  5. Michael J. Callahan, MD and
  6. Gregory P. Sutton, MD
  1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, St Vincent Hospital and Health Services, Indianapolis, IN.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Hubert Fornalik, MD, St Vincent Gynecologic Oncology, 8402 Harcourt Rd, Suite 420, Indianapolis, IN 46260. E-mail:


Objective This study aimed to determine surgical outcomes related to hand-assisted robotic surgery (HARS) for staging of ovarian cancer and uterine cancers with high risk of peritoneal spread and compare them to laparotomy and standard robotic-assisted surgery.

Methods A retrospective cohort study of women undergoing staging for uterine and ovarian cancer between January 2011 and July 2013 at a major metropolitan teaching hospital was reviewed. Patients undergoing HARS were matched with patients undergoing staging laparotomy [exploratory laparotomy (XLAP)] for the same indications and with patients undergoing traditional robotic surgery (RS) for staging of endometrioid endometrial cancer. In HARS, a longer incision is used to allow palpation of the peritoneal surfaces, to exteriorize the small bowel, to examine the mesentery, and to perform omentectomy.

Results One hundred five patients were analyzed (15 HARS, 45 RS, 45 XLAP). Compared with XLAP, HARS was associated with decreased blood loss (200 vs 400 mL, P = 0.011) and shorter hospital stay (1 vs 4 days, P < 0.001). Patients who had undergone HARS had fewer major complications, but those results did not reach statistical significance (0% vs 27%, P = 0.063). Hand-assisted robotic surgery was associated with higher blood loss and length of stay as compared to robotic staging of endometrioid endometrial cancer (RS). Minor wound complications were also more common (27% vs 2%, P = 0.012).

Conclusions Hand-assisted robotic surgery allows for thorough visual and tactile assessment of peritoneal surfaces. It represents a safe alternative to laparotomy for staging of ovarian and uterine cancers with high risk of peritoneal spread. Long-term follow-up study is needed to determine oncologic adequacy of HARS.

  • Robotic staging
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Hand-assisted robotic surgery
  • Peritoneal spread

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  • The authors declare no conflicts of interest.