Main outcome measures The primary outcome was number of days in hospital within 90 days after surgery. Secondary outcomes included emergency department visits, operating room time, wound complications, hernia recurrence, reoperation, abdominal wall quality of life, and costs from the healthcare system perspective. Outcomes were pre-specified before data collection began and analyzed as intention to treat.
Results Patients from both groups were similar at baseline. Ninety day follow-up was completed in 123 (99%) patients. No evidence was seen of a difference in days in hospital between the two groups (median 0 v 0 days; relative rate 0.90, 95% confidence interval 0.37 to 2.19; P=0.82). For secondary outcomes, no differences were noted in emergency department visits, wound complications, hernia recurrence, or reoperation. However, robotic repair had longer operative duration (141 v 77 min; mean difference 62.89, 45.75 to 80.01; P≤0.001) and increased healthcare costs ($15865 (￡12746; €14125) v $12955; cost ratio 1.21, 1.07 to 1.38; adjusted absolute cost difference $2767, $910 to $4626; P=0.004). Among patients with robotic ventral hernia repair, two had an enterotomy compared none with laparoscopic repair. The median one month postoperative improvement in abdominal wall quality of life was 3 with robotic ventral hernia repair compared with 15 following laparoscopic repair.
Conclusion This study found no evidence of a difference in 90 day postoperative hospital days between robotic and laparoscopic ventral hernia repair. However, robotic repair increased operative duration and healthcare costs.