Robotic Whipple Surgery for Pancreatic Cancer
Surgery is often an essential component in treating pancreatic cancer. And until very recently, traditional "open" surgery was the only option. In just the last few years, robotics has made this surgery, known as a pancreaticoduodenectomy or Whipple procedure, less invasive for those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
The robotic Whipple procedure is the first surgical innovation in pancreatic surgery in more than 80 years. It is now available to 85 percent of patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer or benign GI tumors. UPMC is one of only a handful of hospitals in the United States to use the robotic Whipple procedure.
Open Whipple vs. Robotic Whipple
During a traditional, open Whipple (pancreaticoduodenectomy) procedure, the surgical oncologist removes:
- The head of the pancreas
- The gallbladder
- The bile duct
- Part of the stomach
- The small intestine
The open Whipple procedure requires a large incision to allow access to all of these organs.
The robotic Whipple offers patients a minimally-invasive option to the traditional surgeries for pancreatic cancer and benign tumors of the pancreas and colon, resulting in the potential for:
- Less pain
- Shorter hospital stays
- Faster recovery times
- Minimized scarring
- Blood loss
What can I expect during a robotic Whipple procedure?
The surgical oncologist:
- Uses the da Vinci® Si Surgical System — a robotic surgical device — to enter the body through a series of small incisions, (including one to accommodate a miniature camera).
- Guides the instruments, which move with more precision and nimbleness than a human hand, while viewing three-dimensional images on a large, high-definition screen, allowing viewpoints that would be impossible with the naked eye.
Who provides this treatment at UPMC CancerCenter?
Herbert Zeh, MD
Amer Zureikat, MD