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Robotic Surgery Symposium Brings the Future to Simmons

The Latest Developments in Robotic Cancer Surgery

UT Southwestern Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center is a recognized leader in surgical education. Adam Yopp, M.D., an Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery and Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, recently brought the future of interventional medicine to Simmons, leading a symposium on new advances in robotic surgery in collaboration with the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO).

“While the SSO 2022 International Conference on Surgical Cancer Care was in Dallas, we invited a group of 32 visiting faculty and fellows, along with eight guest faculty who are world experts in robotic surgery, to our state-of-the-art surgical simulation center,” Dr. Yopp says. “The group watched five robotic surgeries, either in person or via a livestream, and the fellows had the opportunity to practice their skills in our simulation lab.”

Both simulation-based and didactic lecture-based surgical teaching were provided to the group, enabling training of advanced skills that constitute the whole spectrum of professional competence.

Unmet Educational Needs

“The learning curve for advanced robotic surgical techniques is high,” Dr. Yopp says. “Cancer surgeons across the globe want to come and see how these techniques are performed.” In particular, Dr. Yopp and his team’s expanded use of intraoperative robotic techniques for pancreatic resection, including Whipple procedures, has drawn the attention of visiting physicians and faculty.

He presented his approach alongside presentations in robotic-assisted gastrectomy, colectomy, and partial hepatectomy, which were livestreamed from the William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital operating rooms at UT Southwestern. These minimally invasive procedures offer many benefits to patients compared with traditional open surgery, including faster recovery time, reduced scarring, and less pain.

Other advanced techniques were also performed during the symposium, including the insertion of a hepatic arterial infusion pump to deliver chemotherapy to a patient with advanced liver cancer.

Overwhelmingly Positive Feedback

After the symposium, all participants provided extremely positive feedback on their learning experience, with some faculty members planning to return for additional training.

“We’re excited to have international faculty members returning this fall for further in-person didactic and intraoperative viewing,” Dr. Yopp says. “Simmons Cancer Center is committed to providing education for advanced robotic surgery, which differentiates us from other institutions across the country.”

Adam Yopp, M.D., is Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He specializes in surgeries for cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, liver, pancreas, stomach, and bile duct.

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