Safety and feasibility of the robotic platform in the management of surgical sequelae of chronic pancreatitis



The application of minimally invasive surgery to chronic pancreatitis (CP) procedures is uncommon. Our objective was to report the safety and feasibility of the robotic approach in the treatment of surgical sequelae of CP, and provide insights into the technique, tricks, and pitfalls associated with the application of robotics to this challenging disease entity.


A retrospective review of a prospectively maintained database of patients undergoing robotic-assisted resections and/or drainage procedures for CP at the University of Pittsburgh between May 2009 and January 2017 was performed. A video of a robotic Frey procedure is also shown.


Of 812 robotic pancreatic resections and reconstructions 39 were for CP indications. These included 11 total pancreatectomies [with and without auto islet transplantation], 8 Puestow procedures, 4 Frey procedures, 6 pancreaticoduodenectomies, and 10 distal pancreatectomies. Median age was 49, and 41% of the patients were female. The most common etiology for CP was idiopathic pancreatitis (n = 16, 46%). Median operative time was 324 min with a median estimated blood loss of 250 ml. None of the patients required conversion to laparotomy. A Clavien III–IV complication rate was experienced by 5 (13%) patients, including one reoperation. Excluding the eleven patients who underwent TP, rate of clinically relevant postoperative pancreatic fistula was 7% (Grade B = 2, Grade C = 0). No 30 or 90 day mortalities were recorded. The median length of hospital stay was 7 days.


Use of the robotic platform is safe and feasible when tackling complex pancreatic resections for sequelae of chronic pancreatitis.

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Correspondence to Amer H. Zureikat.

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Drs. Ahmad Hamad, Mazen Zenati, Trang Nguyen, Melissa Hogg, Herbert Zeh, and Amer Zureikat have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Hamad, A., Zenati, M.S., Nguyen, T.K. et al. Safety and feasibility of the robotic platform in the management of surgical sequelae of chronic pancreatitis. Surg Endosc 32, 1056–1065 (2018).

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  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Robotic surgery
  • Frey
  • Puestow
  • Total pancreatectomy
  • Pancreatectomy