Successful robotic kidney transplantation for surgeons with no experience in minimally invasive surgery: a single institution experience

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Int J Surg


BACKGROUND: Robotic kidney transplantation (RKT) is a novel and welcomed innovation yielding good surgical outcomes. However, data on the feasibility and safety of performing RKT by surgeons with a lack of prior minimally invasive surgery (MIS) experience are limited. The authors aimed to evaluate the surgical and functional results of RKT and present the learning curves (LC) of RKT by a single surgeon with no prior experience in MIS.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a retrospective study of all RKT performed between November 2019 and April 2023 at Severance Hospital in Seoul, South Korea. The authors analyzed surgical and functional outcomes, as well as complication rates of RKT in comparison to open kidney transplantation (OKT). The authors evaluated LCs using the cumulative summation method to describe the number of cases associated with the competency of a single surgeon.

RESULTS: A total of 50 patients who underwent RKT and 104 patients who underwent OKT were included in this study. In RKT group, the median surgical console time was 193 min (interquartile range, 172-222) and the median vascular anastomoses time was 38 min (35-44). Total operation time was 323 min (290-371) and rewarming time was 62.5 min (56.0-70.0) in RKT group compared to 210 min (190-239) and 25 min (21-30), respectively, in OKT group. Despite extended surgical durations with a robotic technique, both groups had comparable intraoperative and postoperative outcomes, as well as renal function. Estimated blood loss and post-transplant hospital stays were significantly lower in RKT group than in OKT group. LC analysis of RKT by the single surgeon revealed that surgical competence was achieved after 15 cases.

CONCLUSION: Even if surgeons do not have prior experience with MIS, they can rapidly overcome the LC and safely perform RKT with adequate preparation and acquisition of basic robotic surgical techniques.

Medical Subject Headings

Humans; Kidney Transplantation; Robotic Surgical Procedures; Retrospective Studies; Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures; Surgeons

PubMed ID



ePub ahead of print





First Page


Last Page