Robotic-assisted repair of pelvic organ prolapse: a scoping review of the literature
The purpose of this article is to perform a scoping review of the medical literature regarding the efficacy, safety, and cost of robotic-assisted procedures for repair of pelvic organ prolapse in females. Sacrocolpopexy is the “gold standard” repair for apical prolapse for those who desire to maintain their sexual function, and minimally-invasive approaches offer similar efficacy with fewer risks than open techniques. The introduction of robotic technology has significantly impacted the field, converting what would have been a large number of open abdominal sacrocolpopexy (ASC) procedures to a minimally-invasive approach in the United States. Newer techniques such as nerve-sparing dissection at the sacral promontory, use of the iliopectineal ligaments and natural orifice vaginal sacrocolpopexy may improve patient outcomes. Prolapse recurrence is consistently noted in at least 10% of patients regardless of route of mesh placement. Ancillary factors including pre-operative prolapse stage, retention of the cervix, type of mesh implant, and genital hiatus (GH) size all adversely affect surgical efficacy, while trainees do not. Minimally-invasive apical repair procedures are suited to early recovery after surgery protocols but may not be appropriate for all patients. Studies evaluating longer-term outcomes of robotic sacrocolpopexies are needed to understand the relative risk/benefit ratio of this technique. With several emerging robotic platforms with improved features and a focus on decreasing costs, the future of robotics seems bright.