More patients with complex tumors of the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract are benefiting from our use of recent advances in minimally invasive surgery, including robotically-assisted surgery.
Using the new robotics with minimally invasive surgery to remove tumors of the upper GI tract further demonstrates our commitment to excellence in patient care, and also to the development of the best ideas in medicine, helping to lead the field of surgery with new advances.
Our surgical oncologists are among the very few surgeons nationwide performing robotic pancreatico-duodenectomy, known as the Whipple procedure (named after Dr. Allen Whipple who refined it), to remove pancreatic tumors and other types of GI tumors.
The Whipple procedure is one of hardest GI procedures to perform, either by means of conventional open surgery, or by the minimally invasive laparoscopic approach.
Performing the Whipple procedure successfully with the robot is a significant surgical feat from the technical point of view, and it offers patients considerable benefits.
In general, the new minimally invasive procedures using robotics offer patients the possibility of diminished postoperative pain, less scarring, fewer complications post-surgery, and earlier discharge from the hospital.
In September 2017, our team of specialists in robotic surgery performed the first totally robotic Whipple procedure ever done on Long Island.
The new approach may also help patients heal quicker, which may be crucial if they need to undergo additional treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation. During the Whipple procedure, a portion of the pancreas — the first portion of the intestine and the last portion of the bile duct — is removed to treat tumors of these organs.
Despite the laparoscopic instrumentation used in the minimally invasive approach to performing the Whipple, the surgeon is often not able to complete the procedure effectively enough, particularly the reconstruction of the intestinal system. The use of the da Vinci surgical robot allows reconstruction to be performed accurately and in a more minimally invasive way.
At Stony Brook, increasing numbers of patients with cancer are being treated with surgery using robotics, and are benefiting from this new advance in care.