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Does the Robotic Platform Reduce Morbidity Associated With Combined Radical Surgery and Adjuvant Radiation for Early Cervical Cancers?
  1. Leslie H. Clark, MD,
  2. Emma L. Barber, MD,
  3. Paola A. Gehrig, MD,
  4. John T. Soper, MD,
  5. John F. Boggess, MD and
  6. Kenneth H. Kim, MD
  1. * University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Chapel Hill, NC.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Leslie H. Clark, MD, 101 Manning Drive, CB# 7572, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7572. E-mail: leslie.clark{at}


Objective Open radical hysterectomy followed by adjuvant radiation for cervical cancer has been associated with significant rates of morbidity. Radical hysterectomy is now often performed robotically. We sought to examine if the robotic platform decreased the morbidity associated with radical hysterectomy followed by adjuvant radiation.

Materials/Methods A retrospective cohort of patients with cervical cancer undergoing radical hysterectomy from 1995 to 2013 was evaluated. Complications were assessed using electronic record review and graded. χ2 tests and Student t tests were used for analysis.

Results Overall, 243 patients underwent radical hysterectomy for cervical cancer. Surgical approach was 43% open and 57% robotic. Eighty-three patients (34.2%) required adjuvant radiation. Overall, radical hysterectomy plus adjuvant radiation was associated with increased risk of complication (29%) compared to radical hysterectomy alone (7%) (P < 0.001). Complications included lymphedema (n = 18), bowel-associated complications (n = 10), and urinary complications (n = 7). There was no difference in time to initiation of radiation between open and robotic surgery (43 vs 47 days; P = 0.33). There was no difference in grade 2/3 complications in patients receiving adjuvant radiation between open and robotic surgery (27.5% vs 27.9%; P = 0.97). Patients undergoing open surgery followed by radiation experienced a trend toward increased adhesion-related complications, such as bowel obstruction and ureteral stricture (10% vs 2.3%; P = 0.19); whereas patients undergoing robotic surgery followed by radiation experienced a trend toward increased lymphedema (19% vs 8%; P = 0.20).

Conclusions We found no difference in long-term complications between patients who underwent robotic surgery compared to open radical hysterectomy with adjuvant radiation. There may be fewer adhesion-related complications with robotic surgery. However, as many radiation-related complications occur at later time points, continued follow-up to evaluate for potential differences between the 2 groups is necessary.

  • Cervical cancer
  • Morbidity
  • Radical hysterectomy
  • Radiation
  • Robotic

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