Background: The purpose of this study was to define the learning curves for laparoscopic pancreaticoduodenectomy (LPD) with and without laparoscopic reconstruction, using paired surgical teams consisting of advanced laparoscopic-trained surgeons and advanced oncologic-trained surgeons.
Methods: All patients undergoing PD without vein resection at a single institution were retrospectively analyzed. LPD was introduced by initially focusing on laparoscopic resection followed by open reconstruction (hybrid) for 18 months prior to attempting a totally LPD (TLPD) approach. Cases were compared with Chi square, Fisher’s exact test, and Kruskal–Wallis analysis of variance (ANOVA).
Results: Between March 2010 and June 2013, 140 PDs were completed at our institution, of which 56 (40 %) were attempted laparoscopically. In 31/56 procedures we planned to perform only the resection laparoscopically (hybrid), of which 7 (23 %) required premature conversion before completion of resection. Following the first 23 of these hybrid cases, a total of 25 TLPDs have been performed, of which there were no conversions to open. For all LPD, a significant reduction in operative times was identified following the first 10 patients (median 478.5 vs. 430.5 min; p = 0.01), approaching open PD levels. After approximately 50 cases, operative times and estimated blood loss were consistently lower than those for open PD.
Conclusions: In our experience of building an LPD program, the initial ten cases represent the biggest hurdle with respect to operative times. For an experienced teaching center using a staged and team-based approach, LPD appears to offer meaningful reductions in operative time and blood loss within the first 50 cases.
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