Proposed training pathway with initial experience to set up robotic hepatobiliary and pancreatic service


Although robot-assisted hepatobiliary and pancreatic (HPB) surgery has gained momentum over the last 2 decades, only a handful of units in the world perform major robotic resections. Adaptation of robotic surgery in the UK lags behind its European counterparts and this is mainly because of cost implications in a publicly funded National Health Service (NHS). We describe our experience of setting up a robotic HPB programme with clinical outcomes and propose a training pathway that would help prospective centres in setting up their own robotic HPB service with robust clinical governance oversight. After gaining colleagues’ and departmental support, approval from the hospital clinical governance, finance department and new intervention procedure committee was sought. A team of two consultant surgeons, three assistants and three theatre staff went through a structured training programme sponsored mainly by the industry. Surgeon training consisted of online modules, simulation, wet lab, cadaveric training, case observations, proctored procedures followed by independent practice. All major cases were recorded and videos reviewed to improve performance. A total of 111 procedures were successfully completed with robotic assistance between April 2018 and March 2020. The programme started with robot-assisted cholecystectomy as index procedure and progressed on to more complex liver and pancreatic resections including major hepatectomy and Whipple’s procedure. The training pathway followed by our team has been effective in setting up a safe robotic HPB programme and could be considered as a roadmap to start new Robotic HPB services.

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Correspondence to Jawad Ahmad.

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Farrugia, A., Muhammad, Q.R., Ravichandran, N.T. et al. Proposed training pathway with initial experience to set up robotic hepatobiliary and pancreatic service. J Robotic Surg (2021).

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  • Robotic surgery
  • HPB surgery
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Pancreatic surgery
  • Hepatectomy