Groundbreaking Pancreas Transplant by Robot to Help Diabetics

The first pancreas transplant using robots has been performed in Italy. A 43-year-old mother-of-two had the three-hour procedure in Pisa Hospital, suffering no complications from the operation, with the new organ being accepted completely. The woman has suffered from type 1 diabetes since she was 24, and already received a kidney transplant . The pioneering procedure used the Da Vinci SHDI robot, which assisted in the removal of the woman’s pancreas and inserted a new one just by making just three small holes and an incision that was only seven centimetres long. The robot, designed in the Robotic Surgery centre in Pisa, is large and has several arms. It is hoped that the transplant will allow new treatments for diabetes patients, as it is a far less invasive approach than traditional surgery . Up until now, transplants of the pancreas have been extremely invasive due to the vascular structure of the organ and the fragile state of diabetes patients, as half of these cases develop post-operative problems. Ugo Boggi, who was lead surgeon for the operation, said the procedure “ends a diatribe that lasted for decades on the advisability of transplanting pancreases because of the hugely invasive nature of traditional techniques and the massive incidence of post-op complications.”

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