Establishing the Learning Curve of Robotic Sacral Colpopexy in a Start-up Robotics Program

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J Minim Invasive Gynecol


STUDY OBJECTIVE: To determine the learning curve of the following segments of a robotic sacral colpopexy: preoperative setup, operative time, postoperative transition, and room turnover. DESIGN: A retrospective cohort study to determine the number of cases needed to reach points of efficiency in the various segments of a robotic sacral colpopexy (Canadian Task Force II-2). SETTING: A university-affiliated community hospital. PATIENTS: Women who underwent robotic sacral colpopexy at our institution from 2009 to 2013 comprise the study population. INTERVENTIONS: Patient characteristics and operative reports were extracted from a patient database that has been maintained since the inception of the robotics program at Winthrop University Hospital and electronic medical records. Based on additional procedures performed, 4 groups of patients were created (A-D). MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Learning curves for each of the segment times of interest were created using penalized basis spline (B-spline) regression. Operative time was further analyzed using an inverse curve and sequential grouping. A total of 176 patients were eligible. Nonparametric tests detected no difference in procedure times between the 4 groups (A-D) of patients. The preoperative and postoperative points of efficiency were 108 and 118 cases, respectively. The operative points of proficiency and efficiency were 25 and 36 cases, respectively. Operative time was further analyzed using an inverse curve that revealed that after 11 cases the surgeon had reached 90% of the learning plateau. Sequential grouping revealed no significant improvement in operative time after 60 cases. Turnover time could not be assessed because of incomplete data. CONCLUSIONS: There is a difference in the operative time learning curve for robotic sacral colpopexy depending on the statistical analysis used. The learning curve of the operative segment showed an improvement in operative time between 25 and 36 cases when using B-spline regression. When the data for operative time was fit to an inverse curve, a learning rate of 11 cases was appreciated. Using sequential grouping to describe the data, no improvement in operative time was seen after 60 cases. Ultimately, we believe that efficiency in operative time is attained after 30 to 60 cases when performing robotic sacral colpopexy. The learning curve for preoperative setup and postoperative transition, which is reflective of anesthesia and nursing staff, was approximately 110 cases.

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School of Medicine

Primary Department

Obstetrics and Gynecology