The learning curve for a surgeon in robot-assisted laparoscopic pancreaticoduodenectomy: a retrospective study in a high-volume pancreatic center

Tao Zhang, Zhi Ming Zhao, Yuan Xing Gao, Wan Yee Lau, Rong Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Pancreaticoduodenectomy (PD) is one of the most technically difficult abdominal operations. Recent advances have allowed surgeons to attempt PD using minimally invasive surgery techniques. This retrospective study aimed to analyze the learning curve of a single surgeon who had carried out his first 100 robot-assisted laparoscopic pancreaticoduodenectomy (RPD) in a high-volume pancreatic center. Methods: The data on consecutive patients who underwent RPD for malignant or benign pathologies were prospectively collected and retrospectively analyzed. The data included the demographic data, operative time, estimated blood loss, postoperative length of hospital stay, morbidity rate, mortality rate, and final pathological results. The cumulative sum (CUSUM) analysis was used to identify the inflexion points which corresponded to the learning curve. Results: Between 2012 and 2016, 100 patients underwent RPD by a single surgeon. From the CUSUM operation time (CUSUM OT) learning curve, two distinct phases of the learning process were identified (early 40 patients and late 60 patients). The operation time (mean, 418 min vs. 317 min), hospital stay (mean, 22 days vs. 15 days), and estimated blood loss (mean, 227 ml vs. 134 ml) were significantly lower after the first 40 patients (P < 0.05). The pancreatic fistula, postoperative hemorrhage, delayed gastric emptying, and reoperation rates also decreased in the late 60 patients group (P < 0.05). Non-significant reductions were observed in the incidences of major (Clavien–Dindo Grade II or higher) morbidity, postoperative death, bile leakage, gastric fistula, wound infection, and open conversion. Conclusions: RPD was technically feasible and safe in selected patients. The learning curve was completed after 40 RPD. Further studies are required to confirm the long-term oncological outcomes of RPD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2927-2933
Number of pages7
JournalSurgical Endoscopy and Other Interventional Techniques
Volume33
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 16 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Da Vinci
  • Learning curve
  • Pancreaticoduodenectomy
  • Robotic surgery

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