Background: Cystic pancreatic lesions (CPLs) are being identified increasingly, and some benefit from surgical treatment. With the increasing use of robotic-assisted surgery (RAS) for neoplasms of the pancreas, the aim of the present comparative study is to establish whether the RAS offered any advantages over conventional open surgery (OS) in the management of CPLs.
Patients and Methods: Twenty-seven out of 37 robot-assisted left-sided pancreatectomy (LSP) performed between January 2010 and April 2017 were carried out for CPLs. The surgical outcome and histopathology were compared retrospectively with a control group of 27 patients who had undergone open LSP for CPLs, selected using a one-to-one case-matched methodology (OS-Group) from the prospectively collected institutional database.
Results: The spleen was preserved in a significantly higher percentage of patients in the RAS-group (63% vs. 33.3%, P< 0.05). There was no difference in the post-operative course (pancreatic fistula and morbidity) between the two groups. The median post-operative hospital stay was significantly shorter in the RAS-group: 8 days (range 3-25) versus 12 days (range 7-26) in the OS-group (P < 0.01). No conversion to open approach was reported in the RAS-group.
Conclusions: Robotically assisted LSP is a safe and effective procedure. It is accompanied by a significantly higher spleen preservation rate compared to the open approach. In addition, because of the reduced trauma, RAS incurred a shorter post-operative hospital stay and faster return to full recovery, particularly important in patients undergoing surgery for relative indications. However, these benefits of RAS for LSP require confirmation by prospective randomised controlled studies.