Robotic-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy (RALH) has become a widely used approach for women with endometrial cancer and has replaced laparotomy. It has been questioned if the increased costs are justified by superior surgical outcomes. The aim of the present study was to examine the frequency, types and severity of post-operative complications after total abdominal hysterectomy (TAH) and RALH using the Clavien-Dindo classification of surgical outcomes.
A non-randomised, controlled before and after study of 360 women was conducted; 202 underwent RALH and 158 TAH (historical controls).
RALH had significant advantages compared with TAH: fewer and less severe post-operative complications and a shorter length of hospital stay. The absolute risk reduction for post-operative complications was 13% (95% confidence interval: 4.29-20.87%). Women treated with TAH had significantly more severe complications (grade = 3) than those treated with RALH; 12% versus 3% (p = 0.001). Infections (urinary and port site) were the most frequent post-operative complications overall. The duration of RALH in the operation theatre was longer, while the duration of stay in the post-anaesthesia care unit was shorter for patients undergoing RALH.
RALH appears advantageous for women treated for endometrial cancer in terms of post-operative complications. We recommend the use of the Clavien-Dindo classification of surgical outcomes for quality assessment.