Experience counts: oncology surgery better in more experienced hands


Pancreaticoduodenectomy is the surgical operation for pancreatic cancer. It is one of the most sophisticated operation among all the surgical operations.

It takes the most dexterous surgeon with the best operational team a few hours to complete, and it’s not rare for some good surgical teams to finish some cases in more than ten hours. Of course, time is not the issue. If someone looks after the quickness,  the quality will for sure compromise. After all, an operation that is complicated to this level, any small steps and phases during the entire procedure will be crucial and has to be done like a masterpiece.

Let’s look into the numbers

In USA, the patients are luckier to find a decently trained oncology surgeon to finish the surgery not too far away. To have the pancreaticoduodenectomy done, the average american patient needs the median travel distance of 3.2 miles to the nearest centers versus a median of 97.3 miles to a high-volume center. The local centers usually perform 3.3 cases of pancreaticoduodenectomy per year, while the high-volume centers on average finish 16 procedures each year.

What really matters

Now it comes to what really counts. The data shows that the high-volume centers have a 25% higher of survival rates than the local facilities, even though for most of the patients they have to travel 90 miles further. Medicine is a serious matter that requires lots of knowledge and training as well as life-time study. Proper experience is the key factor as a good doctor.