Traditional vs. Robotic Distal Pancreatectomy

A distal pancreatectomy is a surgical procedure that can be performed either traditionally or robotically as treatment for pancreatic cancer. The surgery involves removing the tail and body of the pancreas and sometimes the spleen as well, while preserving the head of the pancreas. In a traditional procedure, a distal pancreatectomy is completed through a single, large incision. On the other hand, certain patients may be candidates for robotic surgery, which is less invasive and uses a series of small incisions and robotic technology to aid the surgeon.

In both traditional and robotic distal pancreatectomies, the expertise of the surgeon performing the surgery can make all the difference in improving outcomes and quality of life for the patient. As a high-volume cancer center, Moffitt Cancer Center treats a large number of pancreatic cancer cases each year, and our surgeons possess a unique level of experience in performing distal pancreatectomies.

In cases where robotic surgery is recommended, Moffitt uses the da Vinci® Surgical System, which enables the surgeon to translate hand movements into smaller, more precise movements using wristed instruments that have capabilities beyond that of the human hand. The da Vinci Surgical System also provides a magnified, high-definition 3D image to aid the surgeon during the procedure. These technologies, compared with traditional surgery, can lead to:

  • Shorter hospital stays and faster recovery times
  • Less blood loss during surgery
  • Decreased pain
  • Less scarring

At Moffitt, patients also benefit from having a multispecialty team working together as a tumor board to develop a treatment plan that’s tailored to their unique needs. This team includes surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, pathologists, gastroenterologists and other experts from our Gastrointestinal Oncology Program, who can determine if a traditional or robotic distal pancreatectomy should be included in a patient’s treatment plan.

If you’re interested in receiving a pancreatectomy or other pancreatic cancer treatment at Moffitt, fill out a new patient registration form online or call 1-888-663-3488. No referral is necessary to schedule an appointment.