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da Vinci® Robotic Whipple for Pancreatic Cancer

Robotic Whipple Surgery for Pancreatic Cancer with the da Vinci® Surgical System

Methodist Dallas Medical Center is the first hospital in the nation awarded certification by The Joint Commission for pancreatic surgery and the first in Texas awarded certification for pancreatic cancer.

Methodist Dallas Medical Center was among the first hospitals in the country to offer advanced minimally invasive, fully robotic Whipple surgery, or pancreaticoduodenectomy.

When the Whipple procedure is performed with the aid of a robot, patients benefit from five small incisions rather than one large incision.

Potential benefits of the robotic Whipple surgery vs. traditional open Whipple surgery include:

  • Less pain
  • Less blood loss
  • Fewer complications
  • Less scarring
  • A shorter hospital stay
  • Faster healing, which enables patients to begin chemotherapy and radiation treatment more quickly

A national epicenter for innovative, progressive care of pancreatic cancer

In September 2014, Dr. Alejandro Mejia, a transplant and hepatobiliary surgeon at Methodist Health System, was designated as an epicenter surgeon by Intuitive Surgical (Intuitive is the maker of the da Vinci® robotic surgical system). This is the first hepatobiliary-focused general surgery robotic epicenter designated by Intuitive Surgical.

The epicenter designation recognizes Methodist Dallas’ quality outcomes, compassionate care, and leadership in advanced treatment options for liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, and other diseases of the liver, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract. The epicenter will draw surgeons from across the country to learn about these advanced treatments from our experts.

Advanced pancreatic cancer care in North Texas

“The Whipple procedure is one of the most common surgeries for pancreatic tumor removal,” says Alejandro Mejia, MD, transplant and hepatobiliary surgeon with The Liver Institute at Methodist Dallas.. “The addition of the robot into the surgical procedure enhances the patient’s care, typically reducing pain and shortening recovery time. At Methodist Dallas, we are now offering some of the most advanced hepatobiliary care in North Texas.”

Home in five days following Whipple surgery with five small incisions

“I was genuinely impressed. I’ve been in a lot of hospitals, but this one I’d put at the very top. At Methodist, I found a world-class physician and world-class facilities and staff. There was also a real expression of compassion that meant an awful lot. It really did.” —
Rex W. pancreatic cancer patient treated with the robotic Whipple procedure

Jimmy Patterson benefited from the robotic Whipple procedure for the removal of his pancreatic tumor. “I was home five days following surgery with five small incisions,” says Patterson. “They told me a typical hospital stay for Whipple surgery is seven to 10 days. I was also glad that the pain seemed to be less severe than I expected. I didn’t need the pain medicine when I got home.” The procedure allowed Patterson a faster recovery time from surgery and the advantage of being able to start chemotherapy and radiation treatment quicker to treat his pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Mejia performed the procedure using the da Vinci® Surgical System. To execute the minimally invasive procedure requires advanced skills and training in minimally invasive surgical techniques. Dr. Mejia sits at a console viewing a three-dimensional image of the surgical field and then precisely manipulates small flexible instruments inserted through the incisions. “The robotic camera allows for magnified, high-definition viewing of organs,” says Dr. Mejia. “It results in benefits to the patient in a very meticulous operation.”

The robotic Whipple procedure is a significant advancement of a very complex operation for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. The fully robotic Whipple procedure requires advanced technical abilities that only highly skilled surgeons successfully carry out. The robot benefits the surgeon by providing an enhanced three-dimensional view of the abdomen and advanced fluorescence to improve visualization of the blood vasculature in real time.

The Whipple procedure involves the removal of the head of the pancreas, gallbladder, bile duct, part of the stomach, and small intestine. Methodist Dallas is pleased to be joining an elite group of hospitals across the United States now offering advanced minimally invasive robotic hepatobiliary surgery, including fully robotic Whipple surgery.

To find a doctor or request an appointment,
call (214) 947-0000.