Background: Robotic camera steering systems have been developed to facilitate endoscopic surgery. In this study, a randomized controlled trial was conducted to compare conventional human camera control with the AutoLap™ robotic camera holder in terms of efficiency and user experience when performing routine laparoscopic procedures. Novelty of this system relates to the steering method, which is image based. Methods: Patients undergoing an elective laparoscopic hemicolectomy, sigmoid resection, fundoplication and cholecystectomy between September 2016 and January 2018 were included. Stratified block randomization was used for group allocation. The primary aim of this study was to compare the efficiency of robotic and human camera control, measured with surgical team size and total operating time. Secondary outcome parameters were number of cleaning moments of the laparoscope and the post-study system usability questionnaire. Results: A total of 100 patients were randomized to have robotic (50) versus human (50) camera control. Baseline characteristics did not differ significantly between groups. In the robotic group, 49/50 (98%) of procedures were carried out without human camera control, reducing the surgical team size from four to three individuals. The median total operative time (60.0 versus 53.0 min, robotic vs. control) was not significantly different, p = 0.122. The questionnaire showed a positive user satisfaction and easy control of the robotic camera holder. Conclusion: Image-based robotic camera control can reduce surgical team size and does not result in significant difference in operative time compared to human camera control. Moreover, robotic image-guided camera control was associated with positive user experience.
- AutoLap™ system
- Laparoscopic camera holder
- Solo surgery
- Active robotic camera steering