Ambulatory Robotic Colectomy: Factors Affecting and Affected by Postoperative Opioid Use.

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Surgical laparoscopy, endoscopy & percutaneous techniques


washington; swedish


BACKGROUND: The ongoing opioid crisis demands an investigation into the factors driving postoperative opioid use. Ambulatory robotic colectomies are an emerging concept in colorectal surgery, but concerns persist surrounding adequate pain control for these patients who are discharged very early. We sought to identify key factors affecting recovery room opioid use (ROU) and additional outpatient opioid prescriptions (AOP) after ambulatory robotic colectomies.

METHODS: This was a single-institution retrospective review of ambulatory robotic colon resections performed between 2019 and 2022. Patients were included if they discharged on the same day (SDD) or postoperative day 1 (POD1). Outcomes of interest included ROU [measured in parenteral morphine milligram equivalents (MMEs)], AOP (written between PODs 2 to 7), postoperative emergency department presentations, and readmissions.

RESULTS: Two hundred nineteen cases were examined, 48 of which underwent SDD. The mean ROU was 29.4 MME, and 8.7% of patients required AOP. Between SDD and POD1 patients, there were no differences in postoperative emergency department presentations, readmissions, recovery opioid use, or additional outpatient opioid scripts. Older age was associated with a lower ROU (-0.54 MME for each additional year). Older age, a higher body mass index, and right-sided colectomies were also more likely to use zero ROU. Readmissions were strongly associated with lower ROU. Among SDD patients, lower ROU was also associated with higher rates of AOP.

CONCLUSION: Ambulatory robotic colectomies and SDD can be performed with low opioid use and readmission rates. Notably, we found an association between low ROU and more readmission, and, in some cases, higher AOP. This suggests that adequate pain control during the postoperative recovery phase is a crucial component of reducing these negative outcomes.

Clinical Institute

Digestive Health

Clinical Institute

Mental Health