Robotic enucleation of benign pancreatic tumors

Ana Sofia Ore, Courtney E. Barrows, Monica Solis-Velasco, Jessica Shaker, A. James Moser


Robot-assisted enucleation provides the dual benefits of a minimally-invasive technique and pancreatic parenchymal conservation to selected patients with functional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (F-pNETs) and serous cystadenomas. Insulinomas, the most common F-pNETs, are ideal candidates for enucleation when <2 cm given the 80% probability of being benign. Current evidence suggests enucleation for the following: benign, isolated lesions with a distance between tumor and main pancreatic duct ≥3 mm (no focal stricture or dilation), insulinomas, gastrinomas <2 cm, and nonfunctional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NF-pNETs) <1–2 cm and low Ki67 mitotic index. Minimally-invasive enucleation is an imaging-dependent procedure that requires recognizable anatomic landmarks for successful completion, including tumor proximity to the pancreatic duct as well as localization relative to major structures such as the gastroduodenal artery, bile duct, and portal vein. Tumor localization often mandates intraoperative ultrasound aided by duplex studies of intratumoral blood flow and frozen section confirmation. Five patients have undergone robot-assisted enucleation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center between January 2014 and January 2017 with median tumor diameter of 1.3 cm (0.9–1.7 cm) located in the pancreatic head [2] and tail [3]. Surgical indications included insulinoma [2] and NF-pNETs [3]. Median operative time was 204 min (range, 137–347 min) and estimated blood loss of 50 mL. There were no conversions to open or transfusions. Robotic enucleation is a safe and feasible technique that allows parenchymal conservation in a minimally-invasive setting, reducing operative time and length of stay with equivalent pathological outcomes compared to open surgery.