JAMA Logo A major issue while performing complex pancreatic surgery may be to control bleeding from major blood vessels and reconstructing ducts in the liver and pancreas. A latest study suggests that robotic-assisted surgery is safe and effective for complex pancreatic procedures in a high-volume facility. It appears that the robotic-assisted surgery together with benefits of laparoscopic procedures is extremely helpful.

The study includes 30 patients who had undergone robotic-assisted pancreatic resection between October 2008 and February 2010. While the time taken to perform the surgeries was between 327 and 848 minutes with a median of 512 minutes, patients apparently lost blood in a median of 320 milliliters. The median hospital stay was nine days and the procedure followed up for 90 days. Along with 8 cases of pancreatic fistula, one postoperative death was registered. This rate seems to be consistent when compared with large groups of patients undergoing open procedures.

Scientists quote, “Robotic-assisted pancreatic surgery continues to evolve, and newer technologies may reduce operative times by minimizing the time associated with docking the robot as well as loading and extracting needles from the abdomen. Although no specific complications (pneumonia or prolonged ventilator dependence) were attributed to long operative times in this cohort of patients, larger series of patients and shorter operative times may demonstrate the underlying benefits of robotic-assisted surgery more convincingly.”

Severe 90-day complications probably occurred in seven patients forming 23 percent, less severe complications in eight patients presenting 27 percent and two patients representing 7 percent had to undergo reoperation. Amer H. Zureikat, M.D., from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Cancer Institute and colleagues note that the rates are similar to those who went through open procedures. These rates may comprise shorter hospital stays, fewer wound- and lung-related complications and reduced recovery time in the short term along with reduced rates of hernia and bowel complications in the longer term.

The study will be published in the March print issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.