Purpose: To determine how urologists manage technical malfunction of the Da Vinci robotic system during robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP). Materials and Methods: A web-based survey was sent to urologists performing RARP. The survey questions were related to the stage of operation during which robotic malfunction occurred, management of malfunctions, and most common types of robotic malfunction. In addition, data were collected concerning surgical volume and training. Results: One hundred (56.8%) of the 176 responding surgeons had experienced an irrecoverable intraoperative malfunction. Eighty respondents experienced mechanical failure before starting RARP, of which 46 (57.5%) rescheduled, 15 (18.8%) performed an open radical approach, 12 (15%) performed standard laparoscopic prostatectomy, and 4 (4.9%) docked another robot. Sixty-three respondents experienced mechanical failure before starting urethrovesical anastomosis, of which 26 (41.2%) converted to an open procedure, 20 (31.7%) converted to standard laparoscopy, 10 (15.8%) finished with one less arm, and 3 (4.7%) aborted the procedure. Thirty-two respondents experienced malfunction before completion of the anastomosis, of which 20 (62.5%) converted to standard laparoscopy, while 12 (37.5%) converted to open surgery. Fellowship trained surgeons were more likely to complete the prostatectomy using standard laparoscopy (P=0.05). No significant differences existed between surgeons performing a high volume or low volume of prostatectomies in regard to management of malfunctions. Conclusion: Intraoperative breakdown of the Da Vinci robot is uncommon, but patients should be counseled preoperatively and a plan devised on how breakdown will be managed. Intracorporeal suturing skills allow conversion to a pure laparoscopic approach, if necessary. Consequently, standard laparoscopic suturing skills should remain in the residency curriculum.
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