Surgeons at the WVU Cancer Institute have performed a robotic assisted surgery to implant a hepatic artery infusion pump to treat a patient with colon cancer that spread to the liver. This is the first the time this surgery has been performed robotically in the state.

Hepatic artery infusion pumps allow oncologists to deliver chemotherapy directly to the liver through the hepatic artery, the main blood supply to the liver. This direct delivery method greatly reduces the side effects patients would experience from the systemic delivery of chemotherapy. The pump is filled every two weeks and continuously delivers chemotherapy to the liver.

“A robotic approach allows us to complete both portions of the operation, the pump placement and colon resection, through the same small incisions, avoiding a large abdominal incision,” Brian Boone, MD, WVU Cancer Institute surgical oncologist, said. “This has the potential to reduce recovery time and postoperative pain and allows for a quicker return to treatment.”

Dr. Boone robotically placed the hepatic artery infusion pump while Emily Groves, MD, WVU Cancer Institute surgical oncologist, simultaneously removed the primary tumor from the patient’s colon.

“This patient’s colon cancer had spread to both lobes of her liver, making the cancer unresectable,” Boone said. “By using this pump, we are able to deliver chemotherapy directly to the tumor site in the hopes that she will have a more robust response to treatment than she has had with prior rounds of chemotherapy.”