Aim: The National Health Insurance system has reimbursed robotic gastrointestinal surgery since April 2018 in Japan. Additionally, strict facility and surgeon standards were established by the government and the academic society. This study aimed to evaluate the prevalence and safety of robotic surgery using a Japanese nationwide web-based database. Methods: Patients who underwent the following robotic surgeries for malignant tumors in 2018 were included: esophagectomy (RE), total gastrectomy (RTG), distal gastrectomy (RDG), proximal gastrectomy (RPG), low anterior resection (RLAR), and rectal resections other than RLAR (RRR). The number of cases and surgical mortality rates each month were calculated to evaluate the prevalence and safety of robotic procedures. Results: A total of 3281 patients underwent robotic gastrointestinal surgery. The monthly number of robotic surgeries nearly doubled in April 2018 when they were initially reimbursed by the National Health Insurance system. Operative mortality rates were 0.9%, 0.4%, 0.2%, and 2.8% for RE (n = 330), RTG (n = 239), RDG (n = 1167), and RPG (n = 109), respectively. No mortality was observed in RLAR (n = 1062) or RRR (n = 374). Conclusion: Robotic surgery for gastrointestinal malignant tumors was safely introduced into daily clinical practice along with rigorous surgeon and facility standards in Japan.
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