UPMC Surgeons Perform Surgery Broadcast to Russia

By: Jennifer C. Yates


When Herbert Zeh, M.D., and Amer Zureikat, M.D., scrubbed up for surgery Monday at UPMC Presbyterian, a unique group was waiting to watch them. And they were thousands of miles away.

Drs. Zeh and Zureikat performed a robotic Whipple procedure—an advanced type of minimally invasive surgery– on a pancreatic cancer patient while surgeons at the Moscow Clinical Scientific Center in Russia watched a live broadcast. The next day, Dr. Zeh gave a lecture broadcast live to the 150 participants of the course.

“The surgeons watching us from Russia had a unique view of the procedure and our work here,” Dr. Zeh said.  “With help from our talented staff, the broadcast was a great way to bring the technological advances being pioneered here at UPMC to the world.”

Surgeons at UPMC’s Pancreatic Cancer Center are among the world’s most experienced in minimally invasive pancreatic surgery, including laparoscopic pancreatectomy, as well as robotic surgical techniques.  Drs. Zeh and Zureikat are co-directors of the Pancreatic Cancer Center.

The Whipple procedure involves the removal of a tumor located in the head of the pancreas and also includes removal of the attached duodenum, bile duct, gallbladder and sometimes the stomach.

“Surgical removal of pancreatic cancer is one of the most complex and technically challenging procedures of the upper gastrointestinal tract. We were excited to share what we have learned with other surgeons,” Dr. Zureikat said.

In September, Dr. Zeh was asked to lecture to the Moscow Clinical Scientific Center about robotic surgery of the pancreas.  He wasn’t able to travel there because of other scheduling conflicts, but suggested he participate from a distance, instead.

The Moscow Clinical Scientific Center is a large developing multidisciplinary clinical, research and academic medical center. It consists of the Central Research Institute of Gastroenterology, Institute of High-Tech Medicine and the Institute of Internal Diseases. Each December, the center hosts  the practical course of the European Association for Endoscopic Surgery.