Based on what is believed to be the largest study of its kind, Allina Health researchers say robotic assisted transhiatal esophagectomy (RATE) is effective and safe for a carefully selected group of patients. The study appears in the current issue of the journal of the International Society for Diseases of the Esophagus, Diseases of the Esophagus.
“Very few centers have adopted robots for this procedure because of the technical difficulties and unique skills that are needed by the surgeons and the operating room staff,” says Daniel Dunn, M.D., a retired Allina surgeon and the study’s principle investigator. “But the robotic arms can turn and twist and reach more places than human hands will ever be able to.”
Dunn says robotic technology gives surgeons a better view during surgery and lymph nodes can be removed without additional incisions on the patient.
The study is based on 100 patients, most of whom had cancer, at Virginia Piper Cancer Institute — Abbott Northwestern. Clinical and safety information was interpreted by the Allina research team and survival data was analyzed by a collaborator at Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota.
The Virginia Piper Cancer Institute provides comprehensive care through all aspects of cancer prevention, early detection and treatment to help individuals maintain quality of life and find ways to live with and beyond cancer. The Institute was founded in 1990 at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. Both are part of Allina Health.