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Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has become the first hospital to use a robot surgeon to perform “whipple” procedures for pancreatic and duodenal tumors in the UAE, state news agency WAM reported Monday.

Robotic surgeons have risen to prominence due to the minimally invasive nature of the surgeons. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi carried out its first robotic operation in 2015 and its first robotic whipple surgery in 2018. Whipple procedures are commonly used to treat tumors.


“Robotic-assisted surgery is becoming the standard of surgical care in many specialties around the world. Patients in the region are increasingly seeing the advantage of opting for such minimally-invasive procedures over traditional open surgery,” Dr. Yasir Akmal, a Staff physician of general and oncologic surgery in the Digestive Disease Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi said, WAM reported.

Robotic surgery tends to involve smaller incisions and cuts down on recovery time, providing tangible benefits to patients, Akmal explained.

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In regards to whipple procedures specifically, Akmal said that robotic assistance is highly beneficial due to the enhanced precision of the robot and better patient outcomes.

“A whipple procedure is a complicated operation to remove or resect the head of the pancreas and portions of the small intestine and bile duct. After the procedure, we must reconnect the remaining organs for the normal functioning of the digestive system,” he said.

“Using robotics enables us to have more dexterity and control, increases our visibility, reduces the surgeon’s muscle tremor and enables us to move our instruments in a way that a human wrist cannot.”

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