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Less stress on the patient. Fewer mistakes by the surgeon. Fewer people involved in the surgery. Fewer surgical complications. And so on.

That’s certainly the marketing hype.

So far the only thing that’s been documented is an astronomical increase in costs.

A 2009 study of 2,600 men who underwent minimally invasive or robotic radical prostatectomy is a case in point. The laparoscopic group had a shorter length of stay as well as fewer blood transfusions, respiratory complications, and surgical complications. Men who had the robot-assisted surgery were more likely to have genitourinary complications, to become incontinent, and to experience erectile dysfunction (JAMA 2009;302:1557-64).
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