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Article Type: Blog

Unparalleled Expertise: How Our Surgeons Raise the Bar for Bile Duct Surgery, Globally

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Cancer of the bile ducts — which are located in and around the liver — is a serious diagnosis that requires the highest level of care. Nationally and globally, not many surgeons have this expertise. But our hepatopancreatobiliary (HPB) surgeons at the

AdventHealth Digestive Institute Tampa have advanced training to perform surgery for bile duct cancer — and using advanced, minimally invasive robotic technology, too. 

Minimally Invasive Surgery Means Faster Recovery

With minimally invasive surgery, people have an easier recovery, with less pain and a shorter time spent in the hospital. And because people recover faster when they don’t have a large, L-shaped scar, they can begin their next treatment (often chemotherapy) much sooner — in about four weeks, instead of the eight weeks they would normally have to wait after an open operation.

A Surgeon’s Expertise Matters in Complicated Bile Duct Surgery

“The bile ducts are located in a small, tight space,” explains Iswanto Sucandy, MD, FACS, Advanced HPB Surgeon, who specializes in surgery for cancerous and non-cancerous liver, gallbladder and bile duct conditions. 

“Bile duct cancer surgery is a difficult operation. Besides the limited space, there are a lot of blood vessels in the area,” he says, emphasizing the importance of precision. This complex and highly specialized operation often requires surgeons like Dr. Sucandy to remove the bile duct with the tumor as well as part of the liver (also called a liver resection). 

The surgery can take up to seven and a half hours to complete, but the benefits for his patients are well worth the additional time, Dr. Sucandy says.

One of the Only Centers in the World to Offer Minimally Invasive Bile Duct Surgery

Dr. Sucandy and his Digestive Institute Tampa colleague, Alexander Rosemurgy, MD, FACS, Advanced Foregut and HPB Surgeon, are far ahead of the curve in offering people a better approach to bile duct cancer surgery. 

While minimally invasive surgery for liver cancer is rare enough — only about 1 in 10 liver resections are done this way — only a handful of surgeons in the world can offer it for bile duct cancers.

“We have evolved to using robotic surgery for bile duct cancer,” says Dr. Sucandy. “This approach is easier on patients and more precise because we get a clearer picture of the surgical site with the magnification the robot provides.” Most importantly for his patients, robotic surgery results in better outcomes with fewer complications and a faster recovery time.

Globally Renowned Care, Internationally Respected Surgeons

The AdventHealth Digestive Institute Tampa is one of only a few centers globally to offer such advanced bile duct surgery. Dr. Sucandy is just as renowned, and he continues to add to his already extensive knowledge of liver and bile duct surgery gained from a fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. 

Dr. Sucandy travels the world and has been invited to give national and international lectures on these diseases, as well as their minimally invasive surgical treatment. He has visited hospitals in Paris, Strasbourg, Tokyo and MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston to watch how surgeons there perform minimally invasive surgery for liver and bile duct conditions.

The First in the U.S. to Offer Minimally Invasive Surgery for Klatskin Tumor
Based on his travels and meetings with the world’s foremost HBP surgeons, Dr. Sucandy says that the AdventHealth Digestive Institute Tampa is the only center in the U.S. to date that has performed minimally invasive surgery to treat the bile duct cancer known as Klatskin tumor. 

When surgeons at a renowned academic medical center in the southeastern United States read Dr. Sucandy’s operative report after such a procedure, they were incredibly impressed, he says. They weren’t aware that a minimally invasive approach for Klatskin tumor was even possible. And, Dr. Sucandy adds, they realized with amazement that it had been done at the AdventHealth Digestive Institute Tampa.

Leading Expertise for Breakthroughs in the Operating Room

To date, surgeons at the Digestive Institute have performed seven minimally invasive robotic operations for Klatskin tumor, all with excellent outcomes. This is in addition to their more than 350 robotic liver resections, many of which have been major resection for intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. 

Dr. Sucandy and Dr. Rosemurgy have been able to do this because of their extensive experience in offering robotic surgery for liver cancer and other HPB conditions. Surgical treatment for bile duct cancer involves removing not only the diseased bile duct, but also taking out the patient’s gallbladder and a large part of the liver. 

“I tell patients it’s like changing the brake pads on your car,” says Dr. Sucandy. “You sometimes need to first remove the tire. Likewise, the gallbladder and portions of the liver need to come out so I can easily reach and completely remove the cancer, and then reconstruct the remaining bile ducts.”

People can live without a gallbladder, and the liver is the body’s only organ that regenerates itself. So, even though this is a sophisticated, complex operation, surgery remains the gold standard treatment for bile duct cancer. It’s a patient’s best hope for a cure, and Dr. Sucandy’s patients can rest assured that they’re in the best of hands. 

Helping More Surgeons Offer Minimally Invasive Bile Duct Surgery

While they help patients thrive, the advanced HPB surgeons at the Digestive Institute Tampa are also dedicated to helping other surgeons practice minimally invasive surgery so that more people can benefit from this advanced approach. 

While robotic bile duct surgery is still very rare, Dr. Sucandy publishes his methods for it in scholarly journals so other surgeons can find them online. Digestive Institute Tampa surgeons also share the knowledge they have gained from completing minimally invasive bile duct procedures through video presentations given at various national and international academic conferences. By sharing this know-how, they hope to empower surgeons to help patients everywhere.

Here for You With Uncommon Compassion and Unparalleled Expertise 

If you’re facing a bile duct cancer diagnosis, you deserve care from a highly experienced and compassionate surgeon like Dr. Sucandy. Our team is among the very few in the world who offer minimally invasive bile duct surgery, and we’re here to help you or a loved one. To get started, call Call813-615-7557 for an appointment.

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