Robotic surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System has been increasingly applied in a wide range of surgical specialties, especially in urology and gynecology. However, in the field of upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the da Vinci Surgical System has yet to be standard as a result of a lack of clear benefits in comparison with conventional minimally invasive surgery. We have been carrying out robotic gastrectomy and esophagectomy for operable patients with resectable upper GI malignancies since 2009, and have demonstrated the potential advantages of the use of the robot in possibly reducing postoperative local complications including pancreatic fistula following gastrectomy and recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy after esophagectomy, even though there have been a couple of problems to be solved including longer duration of operation and higher cost. The present review provides updates on robotic surgery for gastric and esophageal cancer based on our experience and review of the literature.
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