A study from the University of Texas demonstrates the feasibility of using robotic single-port laparoscopy in nipple-sparing mastectomy (NSM), a type of conservative mastectomy preserving the skin and nipple-areola complex. The new findings potentially expand the application of robotic surgery to a larger patient population but doubts about the safety of this approach linger.
The first surgeries involving the Da Vinci robotic surgeon for breast removal date to 2015. Multiport robotic surgery faces significant obstacles in this field, however. Feasibility studies have primarily focused on women with small breasts, corresponding to cup size C or smaller.
In the study that was published recently in JAMA Surgery, surgeons used the more cost-effective single-port platform for bilateral NSM procedures. Among the 20 patients included in the analysis (age, 29-63 years), 11 underwent prophylactic mastectomy (for a high risk for cancer) and 9 had mastectomy for breast tumors. Breast sizes ranged from A cup to D cup.
The duration of the procedure, from skin incision to suture for both breasts, ranged from 205 to 351 minutes (median, 277 minutes). No immediate operative complications (eg, hematoma) occurred, and there was no need for conversion to open surgery in any case. Over the 36-month follow-up, there were no recurrences. About 95% of patients retained skin sensitivity and 55% retained nipple sensitivity.
In an accompanying article, Monica Morrow, MD, director of surgical breast oncology at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, acknowledged that the new evidence confirms the surgical approach’s feasibility but deems it insufficient to adopt it lightly. “At this point, the issue is not whether robotic mastectomy can be done but whether there is sufficient information about its oncologic safety that it should be done,” she wrote.
In a 2019 statement that was updated in 2021, the US Food and Drug Administration stated, “The safety and effectiveness of using robotically-assisted surgical devices in mastectomy procedures or in the prevention or treatment of breast cancer have not been established.” The significance of this caution is underscored by the experience with laparoscopic and robotic radical hysterectomies. These procedures were widely adopted until a randomized prospective study demonstrated lower disease-free and overall survival for the minimally invasive approach compared with open surgery.
The University of Texas surgeons stated that acceptable safety and oncological outcomes for robotic NSM compared with conventional NSM had been demonstrated. They cited two trials with 238 cases and a median follow-up of less than 3 years. Morrow wrote, “While these reports provide reassurance that gross residual tumor is not being left behind, they do not address the issue of failure to remove all of the breast tissue due to thick skin flaps, with the potential for development of late recurrence or new cancers.” It is worth noting that even with the traditional surgical approach, the 5-year local recurrence rate after NSM is approximately double when observed with shorter follow-ups.
According to Morrow, the high rate of sensory preservation observed with robotic surgery, a desirable outcome for patients, is also a cause for concern. “While this may be due to incision placement or minimal skin flap retraction, as suggested by the authors, it is equally plausible that this could be due to thick skin flaps with preservation of the terminal branches of the fourth intercostal nerve.”
Therefore, more information on long-term oncological outcomes in a large number of patients will be necessary to confirm the safety of the procedure. In addition, measuring patient-reported outcomes will be useful in demonstrating that the benefits of the procedure outweigh increased operating times and costs.
This article was translated from Univadis Italy, which is part of the Medscape Professional Network.
Source link : https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/robotic-mastectomy-feasible-it-safe-2024a10002nh?src=rss
Publish date : 2024-02-07 09:01:38
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