L to R: Mauricio Parga, Surgical Tech, Aaron Lee, DO, Surgeon & Robotic Surgery Medical Director, Kristin Lane, RN, Clinical Nurse Coordinator, Robotics

Riverside, CA – Riverside Community Hospital has performed the first robotic whipple procedure in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Whipple, or pancreaticoduodenectomy, is a major surgical procedure to remove the head of the pancreas, along with a part of the small bowel and the bile duct, to treat any type of cancer in that region. It is not a vastly common procedure, though Riverside Community Hospital (RCH) has been increasing whipple cases due to our growing work in liver and pancreas surgery and transplantation. This is the first time the whipple has been done robotically at RCH.

The robotic procedure was performed by Aaron Lee, DO, board-certified surgeon and Robotic Surgery Medical Director at Riverside Community Hospital. “The whipple is one of the most challenging operations a surgeon can perform and for a patient to go through,” said Dr. Lee. “But the benefit of performing the surgery robotically is faster recovery, less pain and less wound complication without compromising the oncologic principles. It can also facilitate easier transition to the next steps in care, such as chemotherapy and/ or radiation therapy.”

The whipple surgery is performed typically for pancreatic cancer but also chronic pancreatitis and trauma. Since is it a major surgery, using robotic technology to perform a less invasive procedure dramatically reduces the chances of mortality and post-surgery infection.

Riverside Community Hospital offers multiple robotic surgical systems that assist surgeons in performing a wide range of procedures, from hysterectomies to joint replacement to lung nodules. Offering patients an advanced and personalized surgical experience, with a range of potential benefits compared to traditional procedures, leads to better outcomes. Riverside Community Hospital has performed 923 robotic surgeries in the past 12 months, 12% of which have been oncologic.

“We are proud to be the first to perform this amazing, world-class robotic surgery in the Inland Empire,” said Jackie Van Blaricum, Chief Executive Officer at Riverside Community Hospital. “Our Vision to become the premier destination for all we serve is becoming a reality as we grow our services, expand our reach and provide these unique, life-saving procedures that on par with leading academic healthcare centers in the country.”