- A pilot trial has demonstrated that a robot-assisted, high-precision supermicrosurgery could be safely used for the treatment of breast cancer-related lymphedema.
Why this matters
- The new robotic device (MUSA; MicroSure) allows surgeons to connect vessels as small as 0.3-0.8 mm across.
- Women with breast cancer-related lymphedema were randomly assigned to undergo either supermicrosurgery with MUSA (n=8) or manual supermicrosurgery performed by a single surgeon (n=12).
- 2 microsurgeons blinded to treatment groups assessed the quality of the surgery.
- Funding: None disclosed.
- Upper limb lymphedema at 1 and 3 months after surgery and QoL were comparable between groups.
- A slightly higher proportion of women in the MUSA vs manual group could discontinue daily use of arm compression sleeves at 3 months (87.5% vs 83.3%).
- Total surgery time was longer for the MUSA than manual group (mean, 115 vs 81 minutes), but the duration decreased sharply over time for the MUSA group.
- Decrease suggests a learning curve for using the robot.
- No patients reported serious adverse events.
- Small sample size.
- Patient blinding was not possible because the procedures were performed in conscious patients under local anesthesia.