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Loyola one of first hospitals to use robotic surgery for pancreatic cancer

MAYWOOD, Ill. (Feb. 11, 2014) – Loyola University Medical Center is among the first hospitals to use a minimally invasive robotic surgical system to perform the Whipple procedure, one of surgery’s most extensive and challenging operations.

Loyola has also begun using the robotic system for rectal cancer surgery.

The Whipple procedure, also called a pancreatoduodenectomy, treats pancreatic cancer. It involves removal of the head of the pancreas, the gall bladder, the duodenum (first section of the small intestine), the common bile duct and sometimes part of the stomach. The surgeon then reconstructs the digestive tract.

Conventional open surgery requires an incision 8 to 10 cm long or longer. The robotic system requires only a 3 cm incision, plus a few incisions less than a centimeter wide. This less invasive approach could result in faster recovery, less pain, less blood loss, less stress on the immune system and fewer pain medications.

Sam Pappas, MD, and Gerard Abood, MD, partners in the Division of Surgical Oncology, recently used the robotic system to perform a Whipple procedure on a patient who had a precancerous tumor that was discovered after an attack of pancreatitis. The patient went home after six days and likely is cured.

Dr. Pappas and Dr. Abood also are using advanced, minimally invasive and robotic techniques for other tumors of the pancreas, liver, bile duct, esophagus and stomach. The goal is to allow the potentially safest and fastest recovery and to enable the patient to resume additional cancer therapies.

In colorectal surgery, Dana Hayden, MD, recently used the robotic system to perform an abdominoperineal resection on a patient with an extremely low rectal cancer. Dr. Hayden removed the patient’s anus, rectum and sigmoid colon. She then created a stoma (opening), in which waste can leave the body.

The specimen was removed through the perineum. Only five small abdominal incisions – between 5 mm and 1 cm – were needed. The patient went home after four days and is doing very well.

The robotic surgery is less invasive than open surgery – the largest incision is only 1 cm long. And it provides dramatically better visualization during deep pelvic operations, Dr. Hayden said.

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

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