Since technologic advances allow the use of robotic assistance in various surgical interventions performed to treat pediatric otolaryngology patients, the feasibility and outcomes of potential procedures must be assessed.
To assess the feasibility and outcomes of robotic-assisted lingual tonsillectomy in the pediatric population.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Retrospective medical record review in a tertiary care children’s hospital of 16 pediatric patients who underwent robotic-assisted lingual tonsillectomy from March 1, 2011, through December 31, 2012.
All patients underwent robotic-assisted lingual tonsillectomy using the da Vinci Surgical System (Intuitive Surgical, Inc) at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Demographic data, comorbidities, robot docking time, operative time, estimated blood loss, and postoperative course, including complications in the immediate and longer-term postoperative period, were collected and analyzed.
All patients successfully underwent lingual tonsillectomy using the da Vinci Surgical System. Endotracheal intubation was performed in all patients and did not interfere with visualization of the oropharynx. Optimal retraction allowed visualization of pertinent structures and maximized transoral access. A significant learning curve from the first 5 surgical cases to subsequent cases with respect to robot docking time was observed (9 vs 3 minutes, respectively; P < .05). Operative time, estimated blood loss, and postoperative complication profiles are within the expected and acceptable limitations for performing lingual tonsillectomy in the pediatric population.
Conclusions and Relevance
Technologic advances have allowed miniaturization of robotic instrumentation and have expanded the scope of surgical options for the pediatric airway. Robotic-assisted lingual tonsillectomy is well tolerated and can be performed in the pediatric population with excellent success. It should be considered a feasible option for implementation at an institution-based level.