Objectives: To present an initial experience with robotic natural orifice translumenal surgery (R-NOTES) in reconstructive urology using the da Vinci surgical system. Methods: In 10 female farm pigs (mean weight, 34.5 kg), 10 pyeloplasties (right 5, left 5), 10 partial nephrectomies (right 5, left 5), and 10 radical nephrectomies (right 5, left 5) were performed. The robot telescope and the first robotic arm were placed through a single 2-cm umbilical incision, and the second robotic arm was placed through the vagina. Results: All 30 R-NOTES procedures were performed successfully without any addition of laparoscopic port or open conversion. Mean length of the umbilical incision was 2.6 cm. Mean operative time was 154 minutes, and mean estimated total blood loss was 72 mL. Mean warm ischemia time in the partial nephrectomy group was 25.4 minutes. There were no intraoperative complications. There were no robotic system failures during the entire experiment. We did not find any significant difference when comparing right-side and left-side procedures. When analyzing the learning curve, only robot preparation time reached a statistically significant inverse correlation with increasing number of cases (r = -0.72, P = .018). Conclusions: Robotic NOTES pyeloplasty, partial nephrectomy, and radical nephrectomy are feasible and safe in the porcine model. This approach has the potential for a less morbid and scarless outcome. Intracorporeal suturing is significantly enhanced using the robot, especially through the challenging translumenal natural orifice approach. Further development of robots adaptive to NOTES would boost efforts toward clinical NOTES applications.
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