Robotic hepatectomy (RH) is increasingly utilized for minor and major liver resections. The IWATE criteria were developed to classify minimally invasive liver resections by difficulty. The objective of this study was to apply the IWATE criteria in RH and to describe perioperative and oncologic outcomes of RH over the last decade at our institution.
Perioperative and oncologic outcomes of patients who underwent RH between 2011 and 2019 were retrospectively collected. The difficulty level of each operation was assessed using the IWATE criteria, and outcomes were compared at each level. Univariate linear regression was performed to characterize the relationship between IWATE criteria and perioperative outcomes (OR time, EBL, and LOS), and a multivariable model was also developed to address potential confounding by patient characteristics (age, sex, BMI, prior abdominal surgery, ASA class, and simultaneous non-hepatectomy operation).
Two hundred and twenty-five RH were performed. Median IWATE criteria for RH were 6 (IQR 5-9), with low, intermediate, advanced, and expert resections accounting for 23% (n = 51), 34% (n = 77), 32% (n = 72), and 11% (n = 25) of resections, respectively. The majority of resections were parenchymal-sparing approaches, including anatomic segmentectomies and non-anatomic partial resections. 30-day complication rate was 14%, conversion to open surgery occurred in 9 patients (4%), and there were no deaths within 30 days postoperatively. In the univariate linear regression analysis, IWATE criteria were positively associated with OR time, EBL, and LOS. In the multivariable model, IWATE criteria were independently associated with greater OR time, EBL, and LOS. Two-year overall survival for hepatocellular carcinoma and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma was 94% and 50%, respectively.
In conclusion, the IWATE criteria are associated with surgical outcomes after RH. This series highlights the utility of RH for difficult hepatic resections, particularly parenchymal-sparing resections in the posterosuperior sector, extending the indication of minimally invasive hepatectomy in experienced hands and potentially offering select patients an alternative to open hepatectomy or other less definitive liver-directed treatment options.