This systematic review and meta-analysis assessed the effectiveness of robotic surgery compared to laparoscopy or open surgery for inguinal (IHR) and ventral (VHR) hernia repair.
PubMed and EMBASE were searched up to July 2022. Meta-analyses were performed for postoperative complications, surgical site infections (SSI), seroma/hematoma, hernia recurrence, operating time (OT), intraoperative blood loss, intraoperative bowel injury, conversion to open surgery, length of stay (LOS), mortality, reoperation rate, readmission rate, use of opioids, time to return to work and time to return to normal activities.
Overall, 64 studies were selected and 58 were used for pooled data analyses: 35 studies (227 242 patients) deal with IHR and 32 (158 384 patients) with VHR. Robotic IHR was associated with lower hernia recurrence (OR 0.54; 95%CI 0.29, 0.99; I2: 0%) compared to laparoscopic IHR, and lower use of opioids compared to open IHR (OR 0.46; 95%CI 0.25, 0.84; I2: 55.8%). Robotic VHR was associated with lower bowel injuries (OR 0.59; 95%CI 0.42, 0.85; I2: 0%) and less conversions to open surgery (OR 0.51; 95%CI 0.43, 0.60; I2: 0%) compared to laparoscopy. Compared to open surgery, robotic VHR was associated with lower postoperative complications (OR 0.61; 95%CI 0.39, 0.96; I2: 68%), less SSI (OR 0.47; 95%CI 0.31, 0.72; I2: 0%), less intraoperative blood loss (− 95 mL), shorter LOS (− 3.4 day), and less hospital readmissions (OR 0.66; 95%CI 0.44, 0.99; I2: 24.7%). However, both robotic IHR and VHR were associated with significantly longer OT compared to laparoscopy and open surgery.
These results support robotic surgery as a safe, effective, and viable alternative for IHR and VHR as it can brings several intraoperative and postoperative advantages over laparoscopy and open surgery.