Queensland Robotic Centre


Another Australian first for Greenslopes robotic surgeons

Dec 02, 2013

Greenslopes Private General Surgeon, Dr Shinn Yeung has performed the first robotic distal pancreatectomy in Australia.

A distal pancreatectomy is performed in order to resect a tumor in the distal portion of the pancreas—also known as the tail. In this procedure, the abnormal portion of the pancreas is removed—sometimes with the adjoining spleen, as well—and the remaining part of the pancreas sutured or stapled shut.  This operation is normally performed as an open procedure, but can also be performed laparoscopically.

Since it is a minimally invasive procedure performed through a number of small incisions, robotic distal pancreatectomy avoids the need for a large abdominal incision, resulting in less post-operative discomfort and scarring and a speedier recovery.

In addition, the da Vinci Si surgical robot provides surgeons with an enhanced ability to visualise and safely operate on the blood vessels surrounding the pancreas, compared with laparoscopic or open surgery.  This enhanced visualisation also allows for improved spleen preservation rates.

Dr Yeung state that hepatobiliary and pancreatic operations are complex and uncommonly performed procedures are to date there are a few centres around the world where they are performed robotically.

“We are fortunate at Greenslopes Private to have a well-established robotic surgical unit, and can now offer patients the option of performing these procedures robotically,” Dr Yeung said.

“We are building on the success of the last five years with more than 2000 robotic radical prostatectomies being performed here at Greenslopes.” 

Shirley, who was the first patient to undergo this procedure robotically, said that this was the first operation she had ever undergone in her 78 years.  “The only time I have been to hospital was to have my children,” Shirley said.  

“It was all a bit of a shock when I was first told I needed this procedure but I was never nervous at any stage.  I have been so impressed with the whole experience from the operation to the recovery.  

“I was in hospital less than a week and was up and about walking within days. I only have five small incisions from the surgery and Dr Yeung was able to keep my spleen which made my recovery a lot easier,” Shirley said.

first robotic distal pancreatectomy in Australia