Robotic distal pancreatectomy is performed in order to resect (surgically remove) a tumor in the distal (bottom) portion of the pancreas—also known as the tail, since the gland is narrower at this point. In this procedure, the cancerous portion of the pancreas is removed—sometimes with the adjoining spleen, as well—and the remaining part of the pancreas sutured shut. Since it is a minimally-invasive procedure performed through a number of small incisions, robotic distal pancreatectomy avoids the need for a large abdominal incision, resulting in less post-operative discomfort and scarring and faster recovery. In addition, the da Vinci Si surgical robot provides surgeons with an enhanced ability to visualize and operate on the blood vessels surrounding the pancreas, compared with laparoscopic or open surgery.
The GI/hepatobiliary surgical oncologists at NYU Langone Medical Center are among the first in the New York area to use the da Vinci robot for these applications, and are developing a comprehensive minimally-invasive and robotic program to treat all gastrointestinal (GI) cancers.