BACKGROUND: Several studies report on a learning curve for robotic pancreatoduodenectomy (R-PD) ranging between 20 and 80 operations, with conversion rates varying between 1.1 and 35%. However, as these publications mostly refer to initial robotic experiences and do not take into account the previous surgical background in pancreatic surgery (PS) and in robotic-assisted surgery (RAS), the center's volume, as well as the platform used, we aimed to perform a surgical outcomes analysis with a particular view to these aspects.
METHODS: Intraoperative and perioperative outcomes of the first 50 consecutive R-PD performed with the da Vinci Xi by the same surgeon, within a tertiary referral high-volume center, between January 2018 and March 2022, were analyzed. The surgeon was previously experienced in both PS and RAS. Shewhart control chart and cumulative sum (CUSUM) analysis were used to evaluate the learning curve of R-PD.
RESULTS: All the operations were performed with a full-robotic technique, without any conversion to open surgery. Twenty of 50 patients (40%) had a BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2, while 24/50 (48%) had undergone previous abdominal surgery. Mean console time was 276.30 ± 31.16 min. The median post-operative length of hospital stay was 10 days, while 20/50 (40%) patients were discharged within post-operative day 8. Six patients (12%) had major complications (Clavien-Dindo grade 3 or above). There was no 30-day mortality. Shewhart control chart and CUSUM analysis did not show a significant learning curve during the study period.
CONCLUSIONS: An extensive prior experience in both PS and RAS, within a tertiary referral high-volume center with availability of the da Vinci Xi platform, can significantly flatten the learning curve and, therefore, enable safe performance of challenging operations, i.e., pancreatoduodenectomies with a minimally invasive approach, with very low risk of conversion to open surgery, even in the first 50 operations.
- Da Vinci Xi
- Learning curve
- Pancreatic surgery
- Previous manual pancreatoduodenectomy
- Robotic pancreatoduodenectomy
- Robotic surgery