Satters spark robotic approach to cancer surgery

Satters spark robotic approach to cancer surgery

Susan and Stewart Satter


“Thanks to Susan and Stewart’s generosity, we are able to develop a comprehensive program of robotic pancreatic surgery. At the Brigham, we’re always looking for innovative ways to deliver the safest, most effective surgical care possible, and this gift helps us achieve that goal.”
THOMAS CLANCY, MD


Two years ago, after doctors in Florida diagnosed Susan Satter’s father with pancreatic cancer, they determined the best chance of prolonging his life was to perform a complex operation called a Whipple procedure. During this risky surgery, doctors remove the gall bladder and bile duct, along with cancerous portions of the pancreas, small intestine, and sometimes a portion of the stomach.

Susan and her husband, Stewart, patients and benefactors at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, recently learned about the hospital’s plans to develop a robotic, minimally invasive Whipple procedure that could offer faster recovery with better results. Knowing what a difference this could make for patients like Susan’s father, they contributed $1.25 million to establish the Susan and Stewart Satter Robotic Whipple Surgery Program. Their gift will help the Brigham develop a minimally invasive simulation model, train surgeons and robotic assistants, and conduct a series of surgeries to assess and improve the approach.

The surgery program—the first of its kind in Boston—is led by Thomas Clancy, MD, a surgical oncologist the Satters have come to know and trust. Ten years ago, after Susan came to the Brigham for a back X-ray, radiologists detected a cyst in her pancreas. Dr. Clancy has ordered follow-up scans every 6 to 12 months to monitor Susan’s condition, which has remained stable.

“The Brigham has been terrific to our entire family,” says Susan, explaining that Brigham physicians helped her mother and sister contend with cancer.

Dr. Clancy reciprocates this gratitude. “Thanks to Susan and Stewart’s generosity, we are able to develop a comprehensive program of robotic pancreatic surgery. At the Brigham, we’re always looking for innovative ways to deliver the safest, most effective surgical care possible, and this gift helps us achieve that goal.”

Developing this surgical approach means so much to the Satters. “It took my dad about six months to recover from Whipple surgery and rehab, a challenging experience for our whole family,” Susan says. “We want to help find new ways to perform this surgery for others like my dad.”

Stewart adds, “There’s no better place to be philanthropic than at the Brigham. We’re excited to see the successes of Tom and his team. They give us all hope.”