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Ann Surg. 2013 Oct;258(4):554-9; discussion 559-62. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e3182a4e87c.

250 robotic pancreatic resections: safety and feasibility.

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*Division of GI Surgical Oncology, General Surgery †Epidemiology, Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA ‡Institute for Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery, Department of Surgery BIDMC, Boston, MA.

Erratum in

  • Ann Surg. 2014 Sep;260(3):566.



Computer-assisted robotic surgery allows complex resections and anastomotic reconstructions to be performed with nearly identical standards to open surgery. We applied this technology to a variety of pancreatic resections to assess the safety, feasibility, versatility, and reliability of this technology.


A retrospective review of a prospective database of robotic pancreatic resections at a single institution between August 2008 and November 2012 was performed. Perioperative outcomes were analyzed.


A total of 250 consecutive robotic pancreatic resections were analyzed; pancreaticoduodenectomy (132), distal pancreatectomy (83), central pancreatectomy (13), pancreatic enucleation (10), total pancreatectomy (5), Appleby resection (4), and Frey procedure (3). Thirty-day and 90-day mortality was 0.8% and 2.0%. Rate of Clavien 3 and 4 complications was 14% and 6%. The International Study Group on Pancreatic Fistula grade C fistula rate was 4%. Mean operative time for the 2 most common procedures was 529 ± 103 minutes for pancreaticoduodenectomy and 257 ± 93 minutes for distal pancreatectomy. Continuous improvement in operative times was observed over the course of the experience. Conversion to open procedure was required in 16 patients (6%) (11 with pancreaticoduodenectomy, 2 with distal pancreatectomy, 2 with central pancreatectomy, 1 with total pancreatectomy) for failure to progress (14) and bleeding (2).


This represents to our knowledge the largest series of robotic pancreatic resections. Safety and feasibility metrics including the low incidence of conversion support the robustness of this platform and suggest no unanticipated risks inherent to this new technology. By defining these early outcome metrics, this report begins to establish a framework for comparative effectiveness studies of this platform.

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