You Attack Cancer with a Robot’s Precision

It wasn’t really that long ago that robotic surgery was something you’d find in a science fiction story — or in the far-flung future. 

Not anymore. Here at Moffitt, robotic surgery takes place every day.

Our surgeons are some of only a few in the U.S. who are performing robotic surgery to treat a range of cancers, including lung, prostate, kidney, bladder, gynecologic, and gastrointestinal.

Robotic surgery doesn’t mean that a robot performs the operation — rather, the robot enhances the abilities of the surgeon. Here’s how it works: The surgeon works at a remote console just a few feet from the patient. He or she views the entire procedure magnified and in three dimensions, while controlling four robotic arms. The surgery is performed laparoscopically — through tiny, keyhole-sized holes in the patient’s skin, rather than large incisions. Each robotic arm offers a greater range of motion than the human wrist, as well as increased maneuverability, and the ability to use smaller, more precise surgical tools.

“The robotic surgery allows for three things,” says Dr. Julio Pow-Sang, MD, director of Moffitt’s robotics program. “One, it lets the surgeon work more comfortably. Second, the instruments are small; it’s like a watchmaker working with watchmaking instruments. And third, the surgeon’s vision is three-dimensional. The surgeon can actually see depth, and the structures, in more detail.”

This type of surgery also offers other benefits. Because it’s so precise, incisions are smaller, pain is reduced, and recovery is faster. This particularly helps patients who might not tolerate surgery well, such as those who are older, or suffering from other health problems. 

As robotic surgery develops, it offers some intriguing possibilities. One day, it might be possible for a surgeon to perform a procedure on a patient hundreds or thousands of miles away.

This is the kind of pioneering technology you help make possible. Your gifts empower the most up-to-date cancer-fighting science, as well as the most compassionate, personalized patient care. Thank you for being a hero, in so many ways, to people facing cancer. We are very grateful for your support!

To make another gift in support of Moffitt’s groundbreaking research and compassionate patient care, please click here.