Developing a robotic pancreas program: the Dutch experience
Robot-assisted surgery has been developed to overcome limitations of conventional laparoscopy aiming to further optimize minimally invasive surgery. Despite the fact that robotics already have been widely adopted in urology, gynecology, and several gastro-intestinal procedures, like colorectal surgery, pancreatic surgery lags behind. Due to the complex nature of the procedure, surgeons probably have been hesitant to apply minimally invasive techniques in pancreatic surgery. Nevertheless, the past few years pancreatic surgery has been catching up. An increasing number of procedures are being performed laparoscopically and robotically, despite it being a highly complex procedure with high morbidity and mortality rates. Since the complex nature and extensiveness of the procedure, the start of a robotic pancreatic program should be properly prepared and should comply with several conditions within high-volume centers. Robotic training plays a significant role in the preparation. In this review we discuss the different aspects of preparation when working towards the start of a robotic pancreas program against the background of our nationwide experience in the Netherlands.