Task Analysis of Laparoscopic and Robotic Procedures

Task Analysis for Burch Colposuspension
Gynecology / May 25th, 2018 4:22 pm     A+ | a-
Dr Shavershree Govender
Specialist Obstetrician Gynaecologist
Netcare Margate, KZN, South Africa
Stress urinary incontinence (SUI), defined as the involuntary urinary leakage on effort or exertion, or on sneezing or coughing [1], with continence rates reported in the literature of 56% -88% [2 - 4]
The open Burch colposuspension was first described in 1961 and for almost 50 years, has been considered as the gold standard for the treatment of stress incontinence [2].
The Burch colposuspension can be performed nowadays by minimal access surgery, with less morbidity and a similar cure rates compared to the open procedure - 70-80% [5-8].
The first reported retropubic surgery performed via the laparoscopic approach was described by Vancaillie and Schuessler in 1991 [3]. In 1993, Liu and Paek reported on 107 laparoscopic colposuspension cases with an overall success rate of 97.2%, and an overall complication rate of 10.2%, concluding that the laparoscopic approach is a feasible and safe alternative to the abdominal procedure [9].

Complications of SUI surgery

There are certain complications that can occur after surgery for urinary incontinence regardless of the procedure used.
  • Voiding dysfunctions are among the most frequently encountered complications after surgery for SUI, encountered in about 15% of patients  after TOT procedures [11].
  • Persistent de novo urgency symptoms, 3.1 to up to 27% , at long term follow-up have been reported [12-16]. 
  • Sling procedures, the location of the tape seems to be related to the development of de novo urgency [16-19], impacting on patients quality of life (QOL) [20].
  • Dyspareunia, especially in young and sexually active women represents an important issue. It is more frequently encountered after sling procedures, due to the risk of mesh related complications (erosion, shrinkage or infection) or extensive fibrosis [20-22]. The reported incidence of dyspareunia after tape placement is approximately 6.2% [23, 24].
  • Bleeding , the average incidence of perioperative haemorrhage in SUI procedures is estimated at 2.7%, and can be encountered as acute (arterial) or delayed (venous) hematomas. Serious bleeding usually occurs during surgery and is rare [25].
  • Hematuria  - injury to the bladder and urethra can cause Persistent hematuria . Transitory hematuria is more frequent after Burch colposuspension due to bladder manipulation.
  • Mesh related complications  - The incidence of mesh erosion (exposure, extrusion or perforation) varies widely from 0–33%, with a mean incidence of 10.3% [26, 27].
Tape infection incidence ranges from 0-8% and it can occur with or without mesh exposure [26, 28, 29].
The Burch colposuspension is an important minimally invasive treatment for urinary stress incontinence, with similar cure rates to open surgery and mesh repair, offers the benefits of minimal invasive surgery and avoids the complications caused by mesh implant.
Preoperative evaluation consists of: local examination, urodynamic study, assessment of urethral hypermobility (Q-tip test).
Preparing the patient

Obtain informed consent prior to the procedure.
Surgical risks  
  • blood loss
  • infection
  • surgical injury
  • failure rate
  • thromboembolic complications
  • potential postoperative voiding dysfunction
  • de novo detrusor instability
  • possible conversion to laparotomy
Administer a single intravenous dose of an appropriate broad-spectrum antibiotic no more than 1 hour prior to surgery
Administer general anaesthesia

Place the patient in a dorsal lithotomy position with both arms tucked. Support the patient’s lower extremities with stirrups and avoid excessive flexion of the knees or hips

Insert a 16F 3-way Foley catheter into the bladder—this allows intermittent bladder fill during the procedure—and inflate the bulb to 10 cc to facilitate identification of the UVJ throughout surgery
Position of surgical team:
Surgeon and scrub nurse on left side of patient, monitor target organ and surgeons visual axis in coaxial line, assistant surgeon on right side. You may consider another scrubbed assistant between the patient’s legs, if any uterine manipulation is required. Preparation of parts done, by scrubbing and draping under aseptic techniques.
Preparation of equipment:
Insufflator  is turned on to remove air from tubing and set pressure is set at 15mmhg, set flow rate set at 1 l/min, camera is turned on focusing to be done at 10cms, white balance to be adjusted. Set up the connections of required instrument bipolar/harmonic with electrosurgical generator.
Procedural steps
1. Remove paraurethral fat out to lateral sidewalls.
2. Keep dissection 2 cm from urethra and bladder neck.
3. Elevate paraurethral tissue with vaginal hand during dissection and suture placement.
4. Clean off Cooper's ligament.
5. Place a right and left suture through the paraurethral tissue 2 cm lateral to the midurethra and up through Cooper's ligament.
6. Keep paraurethral tissue elevated with vaginal hand while tying.
7. Repeat bilateral suture placement 2 cm lateral to the bladder neck and through Cooper's ligament.
8. Do not over-correct when tying the sutures, leaving 2 cm between pubic ramus and the urethra.
Executive steps

Take veress needle and check for its spring action and patency
Connect the veress needle with CO2 tubing and flush out the dead space
Connect Veress needle to CO2 tubing and flush out dead space
Take 2 Allis forceps to evert and hold each side of umbilicus ((Use open laparoscopy for patients with prior abdominal surgery and paraumbilical scarring.)
Use number 11 blade to place small horizontal stab wound to inferior crease of umbilicus
Mosquito clamp to dissect away subcutaneous adipose and expose rectus sheath 
Measure abdominal wall thickness and add 4cm for distance to hold Veress needle
Hold Veress needle at calculated length like a dart
Assistant and surgeon to hold the lower abdomen up
Surgeon to place Veress needle in sub-umbilical incision at 45 degrees down into pelvis towards anus and also perpendicular to abdominal wall
Insert Veress needle until two clicks felt and Maintain 45 degree angle
Confirm correct Veress needle placement –irrigation test, aspiration test, plunger test, and hanging drop test
Connect CO2 gas tube to Veress needle and  Turn on CO2 and allow flow rate of 1L/min
Observe quadro-manometric indicators to rise in parallel for volume of gas and actual pressure and observe for general distension of abdomen.  Percuss for obliteration of liver dullness
Once pneumoperitoneum is achieved with set pressure of 15mmHg, extend skin incision horizontally
Hold 10mm port like a gun and insert it perpendicular to abdomen & tilt to 60 degrees towards pelvis when there is loss of resistance
Confirm intra-abdominal placement of primary port with escaping air sound and audible click. Take out trocar    
Set the pressure rate at 12mmhg and flow rate at 6 l/min
Connect  gas tubing to primary port
Insert telescope and inspect entry point
Request for Trendelenburg of 30 degrees position
Camera cable should be at 6 o’clock and light source should be at 12 o’clock
Apply baseball diamond shape principle for lateral port insertion
Transilluminate at target organ, the bladder
Make a diamond shape with thumbs at umbilicus and index fingers towards target organ
Incise skin along Langer lines for secondary ports x 2
Insert lateral ports (5mm x 2 at LIF and RIF) at position of snuff box which is about 8cm from umbilicus should be placed high and outside the epigastric vessels. (After the opening of the space of Retzius a third 10mm trocar is inserted suprapubically on the midline (at the level of the opened space of Retzius)
All ports should be inserted perpendicular to the abdomen.

Once all lateral ports inserted, then reduce set pressure to 12mmHg
Atraumatic graspers to perform systematic inspection of entire abdomen and pelvis in clockwise fashion

Description of the procedure

Approaching the bladder - distend the bladder in a retrograde fashion with 300 mL to 400 mL of normal saline. This allows identification of the superior margin of the bladder dome and provides mass traction posteriorly
Using a grasping forceps, grasp the anterior abdominal wall peritoneum and apply downward traction.  Use the urachus to identify the midline.

Next, using harmonic or monopolar endoscopic scissors on a 40-watt pure-cut setting, create a transverse incision 3 cm to 4 cm above the bladder reflection. 

Extend incision laterally between the two obliterated umbilical arteries (the lateral limit of incision), above the bladder. Identify the correct dissection plane, which should be avascular. This is a crucial in avoiding haemorrhagic complications.
Dissect the loose areolar tissue of the prevesicle space, using blunt dissection,  down to the level of the pubic symphysis and ramus.

Develop the paravesical space to expose the pubocervical fascia, at the level of the UVJ. Avoid aggressive midline dissection to ensure urethral protection as well as the obturator neurovascular bundle laterally.
Identify the external iliac vein laterally. Visualize the pelvic wall with the lateral insertion of the vagina to the arcus tendineus of the levator ani muscles caudally. Continue the dissection laterally.
Identification of the proper surgical plane is maintained by medial traction on the bladder, perpendicular to the slope of the pubic ramus.

Cooper’s ligament should be identified and any obstructing fat or areolar tissue should be bluntly dissected away (FIGURE 4)

Removal of excessive periurethral and perivesical fat from pubocervical fascia at the level of the bladder neck, encourages scarification.  Avoid any dissection within 1 cm lateral to the urethra.

Placing the sutures

Use a 90cm, nonabsorbable suture on an SH needle
First, introduce a needle from the contralateral port and at the level of the midurethra, pass it through the pubocervical fascia, using your index finger for transvaginal guidance.

Next, bring the suture up  and place through Cooper’s ligament.

Retrieve needle, bringing it out through the same port, but do not yet tie the suture
Introduce the second suture through the ipsilateral port and place it in the same fashion at the level of the UVJ
Once both sutures have been placed, tie them extracorporeally in sequence. (Waiting until both sutures are placed before tying allows exposure for easy placement of the second suture.
With the appropriate tension, a small, localized “knuckle” of pubocervical fascia is created, that approximates laterally to the obturator internus fascia.
This part of the procedure is repeated in the same sequence,  on the opposite side of the pelvis (FIGURE 11)

Simple suspension is thus achieved when the knots are tied. In order to maintain the mobility of the uretrovesical junction, the sutures should not be too tight
The retropubic space can be closed by reapproximating the peritoneum, using a running continuous 2-0 suture (FIGURE 12)

The  10mm laparoscopic ports should be closed at the fascia level using a Veress needle threaded with a 0-Vicryl.
Both ends of the suture are passed on either side of the fascial incision.
The suture end is freed from the Veress needle, using a contralateral grasping forceps. It is then retrieved using an ipsilateral forceps.

Postoperative care  

Most patients will be discharged the day after surgery.
For postoperative discomfort, acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory preparations are usually sufficient.
Normal living activities can resume within days, and patient should be cautioned to delay strenuous work or exercise,  for at least 8 weeks.

1.Abrams P, Cardozo L, Fall M, Griffiths D, Rosier P, Ulmsten U, van Kerrebroeck P, Victor A, Wein A. The standardisation of terminology of lower urinary tract function: report from the Standardisation Sub-committee of the International Continence Society. Standardisation Sub-committee of the International Continence Society Neurourol Urodyn. 2002; 21(2):167-78.
2.Burch JC. Urethrovaginal fixation to Cooper’s ligament for correction of stress incontinence, cystocele, and prolapse. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1961;81:281–290 5.
3.Bechev B, Kornovski J, Kostov I, Lazarov I. Laparoscopic burch colposuspensio—our experience. Akush Ginekol (Sofiia). 2014;53(1):57-9.
4.Kjřlhede P. Long-term efficacy of Burch colposuspension: a 14-year follow-up study. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2005 Aug;84(8):767-72.
5.Lapitan MC, Cody DJ, Grant AM. Open retropubic colposuspension for urinary incontinence in women. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005 Jul 20;(3):CD002912.
6.Hong JH, Choo MS, Lee KS. Long-Term Results of Laparoscopic Burch Colposuspension for Stress Urinary Incontinence in Women. J Korean Med Sci. 2009 Dec; 24(6): 1182–1186. Published online 2009 Nov 9. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2009.24.6.1182PMCID: PMC2775871
7.Kitchener HC, Dunn G, Lawton V, Reid F, Nelson L, Smith AR. Laparoscopic versus open colposuspension—results of a prospective randomised controlled trial. BJOG. 2006;113:1007–1013.
8.Harey MP, Goh JT, Rosamilia A, Cornish A, Gordon I, Hawthorne G, Maher CF, Dwyer PL, Moran P, Gilmour DT. Laparoscopic versus open Burch colposuspension: a randomised controlled trial. BJOG. 2006 Sep;113(9):9991006.
9.Liu CY, Paek W. Laparoscopic retropubic colposuspension (Burch procedure). J Am Assoc Gynecol Laparosc. 1993 Nov;1(1):31-5.
10.http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/ PressAnnouncements/ucm479732.htm
11.Coyne KS, Sexton CC, Irwin DE, Kopp ZS, Kelleher CJ, Milsom I: The impact of overactive bladder, incontinence and other lower urinary tract symptoms on quality of life, work productivity, sexuality and emotional well-being in men and women: results from the EPIC study. BJU Int. 2008, 101 (11): 1388-1395. 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2008.07601.x.
12.Abdel-Fattah M, Ramsay I, Pringle S, Bjornsson S, Hardwick C, Tierney J, Ali H, Young D. Transobturator suburethral tape in the management of urinary incontinence: success, safety and impact on sexual life. Gynecol Surg. 2007, 4: 267-273. 10.1007/s10397-007-03038.
13.Juma S, Brito CG. Transobturator tape (TOT): Two years follow-up. Neurourol Urodyn. 2007, 26 (1): 37-41.
14.Gambirasio IK, Jacob S, Boulvain M, Dubuisson JB, Dällenbach P. Complications associated with transobturator sling procedures: analysis of 233 consecutive cases with a 27 months follow-up. BMC Women’s Health2009;9:28. DOI: 10.1186/1472-6874-9-28
15.Alperin M, Abrahams-Gessel S, Wakamatsu MM. Development of de novo urge incontinence in women post sling: the role of preoperative urodynamics in assessing the risk. Neurourol Urodyn. 2008;27(5):407-11.
16.Lleberia J, Pubill J, Mestre M, Aguiló O, Serra L, Canet Y. De Novo Urgency: A Review of the Literature. Gynecol Obstet 2013, 3:4.
17.Yang JM, Yang SH, Huang WC, Tzeng CR. Correlation of tape location and tension with surgical outcome after transobturator suburethral tape procedures. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Apr; 39(4):458-65.
18.Bogusiewicz M, Monist M, Gałczyński K, Woźniak M, Wieczorek AP, Rechberger T. Both the middle and distal sections of the urethra may be regarded as optimal targets for ‘outside-in’ transobturator tape placement. World J Urol. 2014 Dec; 32(6):1605-11.
19.Pirtea L, Sas I, Ilina R, Grigora’ D, Mazilu O. Transversal incision of the vagina favors the remaining of the tape in the middle-third urethra compared to longitudinal incision during transobturator sling procedures for stress urinary incontinence. BMC Surg. 2015; 15: 84. doi:  10.1186/s12893015-0071-8 PMCID: PMC4504411
20.Coyne KS, Sexton CC, Irwin DE, Kopp ZS, Kelleher CJ, Milsom I: The impact of overactive bladder, incontinence and other lower urinary tract symptoms on quality of life, work productivity, sexuality and emotional well-being in men and women: results from the EPIC study. BJU Int. 2008, 101 (11): 1388-1395. 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2008.07601.x.
21.Cholhan HJ, Hutchings TB, Rooney KE. Dyspareunia associated with paraurethral banding in the transobturator sling. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2010 May; 202(5):481.e1-5.
22.Neuman M. TVT-obturator: short-term data on an operative procedure for the cure of female stress urinary incontinence performed on 300 patients. Eur Urol. 2007 Apr; 51(4):1083-7; discussion 1088.
23.Murray S, Haverkorn RM, Lotan Y, Lemack GE.Mesh kits for anterior vaginal prolapse are not cost effective. Int Urogynecol J. 2011 Apr; 22(4):447-52.
24.Shah HN, Badlani GH. Mesh complications in female pelvic floor reconstructive surgery and their management: A systematic review. Indian J Urol. 2012 Apr-Jun; 28(2): 129–153.  doi:  10.4103/0970-1591.98453 PMCID: PMC3424888.
25.Kolle D, Tamussino K, Hanzal E, et al. Bleeding complications with the tension-free vaginal tape operation. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2005;193: 2045-2049.
26.Falagas ME, Velakoulis S, Iavazzo C, Athanasiou S. Mesh-related infections after pelvic organ prolapse repair surgery. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2007 Oct; 134(2):147-56.
27. Abed H, Rahn DD, Lowenstein L, Balk EM, Clemons JL, Rogers RG, Systematic Review Group of the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons.Incidence and management of graft erosion, wound granulation, and dyspareunia following vaginal prolapse repair with graft materials: a systematic review. Int Urogynecol J. 2011 Jul; 22(7):789-98.
28.Jacquetin B, Cosson M. Complications of vaginal mesh: our experience. Int Urogynecol J Pelvic Floor Dysfunct. 2009 Aug; 20(8):893-6.
29.Kerbaj J, Aubry C, Prost C, Brouqui P. Thigh abscess and necrotizing fasciitis following an inside-out transobturator tape intervention: a case report. J Med Case Rep. 2016; 10: 146. Published online 2016 Jun 2. doi: 10.1186/s13256-016-0942-3 PMCID: PMC4890333.
Dilara Wanrio
May 23rd, 2020 9:15 am
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Dr. Rajeshwari
May 23rd, 2020 9:23 am
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Dr. Saumitra Sarkar
May 23rd, 2020 9:31 am
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Dr. Bijay Paull
May 23rd, 2020 9:36 am
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Dr. Abida Parveen
May 23rd, 2020 9:43 am
How neatly you explained the Task Analysis of Laparoscopic Burch Colposuspension. In my sleep also i can explain all the Step.Thanks for posting.

Dr. Kane
May 23rd, 2020 11:43 am
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How to Perform and Implement Task Analysis of Laparoscopic and Robotic Procedures

Task analysis is a critical component of any complex surgical procedure, including laparoscopic and robotic surgeries. It involves breaking down the procedure into its constituent tasks, identifying the steps, skills, and cognitive processes required. Task analysis not only enhances the understanding of these intricate surgeries but also serves as a foundation for training, skill assessment, and continuous improvement in healthcare. In this essay, we will delve into how to conduct and implement task analysis for laparoscopic and robotic procedures.

Task Analysis of Laparoscopic Surgery

Understanding the Significance of Task Analysis

Before we explore the procedure for task analysis, it's essential to recognize why it is of paramount importance in the realm of surgery, particularly for laparoscopic and robotic procedures.

1. Enhanced Learning and Training: Task analysis helps in developing structured training programs. It breaks down complex procedures into manageable components, making it easier for trainees to learn and practice each step methodically.

2. Skill Assessment: By understanding the tasks and sub-tasks involved, it becomes possible to assess the competence of surgeons and surgical teams. This is crucial for ensuring patient safety and quality care.

3. Workflow Optimization: Task analysis can reveal inefficiencies in surgical workflows. Identifying these bottlenecks allows for process improvements, potentially reducing surgical times and enhancing outcomes.

4. Error Reduction: Recognizing potential points of error is vital for preventing surgical complications. Task analysis can highlight critical steps where errors are more likely to occur, leading to proactive measures to mitigate risks.

Procedure for Task Analysis of Laparoscopic and Robotic Procedures:

Task analysis for laparoscopic and robotic procedures involves several steps:

Step 1: Define the Surgical Procedure

Begin by clearly defining the surgical procedure you wish to analyze. Whether it's a laparoscopic cholecystectomy or a robotic prostatectomy, having a specific procedure in mind is essential.

Step 2: Gather Expert Input

Engage experts in the field, including experienced surgeons, nurses, and other surgical team members. Their input is invaluable in identifying and detailing the tasks involved.

Step 3: Identify the Tasks and Sub-Tasks

Break down the surgical procedure into tasks and sub-tasks. For instance, in a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, tasks could include trocar placement, camera insertion, gallbladder dissection, and suturing. Sub-tasks under "trocar placement" might involve choosing trocar sizes, making incisions, and inserting trocars.

Step 4: Sequence the Tasks

Establish the chronological order of tasks. Determine which tasks are dependent on others and identify any parallel processes. Sequencing tasks is essential for understanding the flow of the procedure.

Step 5: Define Task Goals and Objectives

For each task and sub-task, define the goals and objectives. What should be achieved in each step? For instance, in gallbladder dissection, the goal might be to safely detach the gallbladder from the liver while preserving nearby structures.

Step 6: Skill and Equipment Requirements

Specify the skills and equipment required for each task. Consider the level of expertise needed, such as basic laparoscopic skills or advanced robotic manipulation. Document the instruments and technology involved.

Step 7: Cognitive Processes

Identify the cognitive processes involved, such as decision-making, spatial orientation, and problem-solving. Understanding the mental aspects of surgery is critical for training and error prevention.

Step 8: Consider Variations and Complications

Acknowledge potential variations in the procedure and anticipate complications. How would the surgical team adapt if unexpected issues arise? Task analysis should encompass both the standard procedure and potential deviations.

Step 9: Develop Training and Assessment Tools

Use the task analysis results to create structured training modules. These modules should align with the identified tasks, objectives, and skill requirements. Additionally, design assessment tools to evaluate the competence of trainees and surgical teams.

Step 10: Continuous Improvement

Task analysis is not a one-time endeavor. Regularly revisit the analysis to incorporate new techniques, technology, and best practices. Continuous improvement is vital for staying at the forefront of surgical care.

Implementing Task Analysis Results:

Once task analysis is complete, it's crucial to implement the findings effectively:

1. Training Programs: Develop and deliver training programs based on the task analysis. These programs should encompass both simulation-based training and real-life surgical experience.

2. Skill Assessment: Use the assessment tools developed during task analysis to evaluate the skills of surgical teams. This can be done through structured evaluations and objective metrics.

3. Quality Improvement: Task analysis can reveal areas for process improvement. Work with the surgical team to implement changes that enhance efficiency and patient outcomes.

4. Error Prevention: Utilize the identified points of error to develop strategies for error prevention. This might involve checklists, preoperative briefings, and enhanced communication protocols.

5. Research and Innovation: Task analysis can also guide research efforts, leading to the development of new techniques and technologies that improve surgical procedures.

In conclusion, task analysis is an indispensable tool in understanding, teaching, and advancing complex surgical procedures such as laparoscopic and robotic surgeries. By meticulously dissecting each task and sub-task, identifying skill requirements, and considering cognitive processes, healthcare professionals can enhance patient safety, optimize surgical workflows, and continually improve the quality of surgical care. Task analysis is not merely an analytical exercise; it is a pathway to excellence in surgical practice.

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