The impact of fellowship surgical training on operative time and patient morbidity during robotics-assisted sacrocolpopexy

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



International Urogynecology Journal








Pelvic organ prolapse; Robotics; Sacrocolpopexy


© 2017, The International Urogynecological Association. Introduction and hypothesis: Abdominal sacrocolpopexy is commonly performed for the surgical correction of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) in the USA. Over the last decade, fellowship programs have increased the number of these procedures performed robotically. Currently, there is a paucity of literature exploring the impact of fellowship training on outcomes of robotic-assisted sacrocolpopexy (RASC). We sought to explore the impact of an expert surgeon operating alone versus with a fellow on operative time and perioperative morbidity associated with RASC. Methods: This is an analysis of a retrospectively collected cohort of all RASCs performed to treat POP from June 2010 to August 2015 by a single attending surgeon. Outcomes were compared by expert surgeon alone and with a fellow. Results: We identified 208 RASCs, of which 124 (59.6%) were performed by an expert surgeon alone and 84 (40.4%) with a fellow. Eight fellows were included, with a median of 7 cases (interquartile range 5–13.5). Cases with fellows were 31.1 min longer than an expert surgeon alone (155.6 vs 124.5 min, p < 0.001), a 25% increase. Increased operative time for fellows remained significant on multivariate regression (34.2 min, p < 0.001) after adjusting for case order postmenopausal status, hysterectomy, mid-urethral sling, and bowel injury. Years in fellowship did not have an impact on operative time (p = 0.80). Complications were seen in 34 women (16.4%). On univariate regression, fellows did not have an impact on complications (OR 1.49, 95% CI [0.65–3.43]), which was unchanged on multivariate regression (OR 0.628, 95% CI [0.26–1.54]). Prolapse recurrence was seen in 19 women (9.5%). Fellows had no impact on prolapse recurrence (OR 0.478, 95% CI [0.17–1.38]), which was unchanged on multivariate regression (OR 0.266, 95% CI [0.17–1.49]). Conclusion: When an expert surgeon operated together with a fellow, operative time increased by 34 min without increasing prolapse recurrence or complications.