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Results unproven, robotic surgery wins converts

New York Times, February 15, 2010
One large national study, which compared outcomes among Medicare patients, indicated that laparoscopic surgery with a robot might lead to fewer in-hospital complications, but that it might also lead to more impotence and incontinence. But the study included conventional laparoscopy patients among the ones who had robot-assisted surgery, making it difficult to assess its conclusions, the New York Times reports. It is also not known whether robot-assisted prostate surgery gives better, worse or equivalent long-term cancer control than the traditional methods, either with a four-inch incision or with smaller incisions and a laparoscope.