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Spleen-Preserving Robotic Procedure Performed at Temple

Physicians at Temple University Hospital (TUH) have successfully performed the hospital's first robotic spleen-preserving distal pancreatectomy, a procedure that will give doctors a new option when it comes to the treatment of pancreatic tumors. During the procedure, physicians use a surgical robot to remove the distal part (body and tail) of the pancreas and the tumor, while preserving the spleen as well as the artery and vein that feed and drain the spleen.

Typically, a distal pancreatectomy is done using open or laparoscopic techniques and requires the removal of the spleen. Now, as a result of the surgical robot's flexibility and ability to complete precise sutures in a tight space, physicians are able to offer patients a spleen-preserving option for pancreatic tumor removal.

Hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgeon Andreas Karachristos, MD, PhD, and Daniel D. Eun, MD, TUH's Vice Chief of Robotic Surgery, performed the novel robotic surgery. "Our first patient had a good recovery and had minimal abdominal discomfort after the procedure," said Dr. Karachristos. "My goal in the future is to remove all tumors confined to the distal pancreas using the robot."

"This is a major step forward for Temple and further cements Temple as the epicenter of minimally invasive and robotic surgery in the Philadelphia region," added Dr. Eun, who also serves as the Director of Minimally Invasive Robotic Urologic Oncology & Reconstruction at TUH.

Dr. Karachristos says preserving the spleen is preferable because the spleen is one of the organs that fights infections, so removing it can increase the rate of infections.

Any patient with a benign or malignant tumor that is confined solely to their distal pancreas is a candidate for a robotic distal pancreatectomy. The physician would determine if they are a candidate for the spleen-preserving approach.

To schedule an appointment with a Temple physician, click here or call 1-800-TEMPLE-MED.

Date Published: Friday, December 14, 2012

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