Background: Minimally invasive distal pancreatectomy is the accepted standard of care. The robotic distal (RDP) learning curve is 20–40 surgeries with operating time (ORT) as the most significant factor. This study evaluates how formal mentorship and a robotic skills curriculum impact the learning curve for subsequent generation surgeons. Methods: Consecutive RDP from 2008 to 2017 were evaluated. First Generation was two surgeons who started program without training or mentorship. Second Generation was the two surgeons who joined the program with mentorship. Third Generation was fellows who benefited from both formal training and mentorship. Multivariable models (MVA) were performed for ORT, clinically relevant pancreatic fistula (CR-POPF), and major complications (Clavien≥3). Results: A total of 296 RDP were performed of which 187 did not include other procedures: First Generation (n = 71), Second Generation (n = 50), and Third Generation (n = 66). ORT decreased by generation (p < 0.001) without any differences in CR-POPF or Clavien≥3. On MVA, earlier generation (p = 0.019), pre-operative albumin (p = 0.001) and pancreatic adenocarcinoma (p = 0.019) were predictive of ORT. Increased BMI (p = 0.049) and neoadjuvant therapy (p = 0.046) were predictive of CR-POPF. Fellow participation at the console increased over time. Conclusion: Formal mentorship and a skills curriculum decreased the learning curve and complications were largely dependent on patient factors.
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