Robotic thoracic surgery can be used to treat cancers of the lungs and other parts of the chest. Using the da Vinci® Surgical System, surgeons are able to perform complex minimally invasive procedures through just a few small incisions. The surgeon uses a magnified vision system to see inside the patient’s body and guide his or her wrist movements, which control tiny surgical instruments.
Moffitt Cancer Center’s Thoracic Oncology Program is home to world-class surgeons who are among a select few across the United States who perform robotic thoracic surgery on a regular basis. This gives our surgical oncologists an unparalleled level of experience with these innovative procedures, allowing them to provide our patients with better outcomes and a higher quality of life than surgeons who might only perform robotic surgeries a handful of times per year.
Robotic lung cancer surgery
There are several thoracic procedures that may be performed in the treatment of lung cancer, including:
- Lobectomy – removal of a lobe
- Wedge resection – removal of the cancer, along with a wedge-shaped section of healthy tissue surrounding the tumor
- Lymph node dissection – removal of lymph nodes around the lung to determine whether the cancer has spread
- Lung nodule biopsy – removal of suspicious lesions to determine whether they are malignant or benign
Other cancers treated by robotic thoracic surgery
In addition to lung cancer, robotic thoracic surgery can also be used to treat:
- Thymoma, or thymus gland cancer – A robotic thymectomy is performed to remove the thymus gland.
- Esophageal cancer – A robotic esophagectomy is performed to remove part or all of the esophagus.
- Chest wall tumors – Resection surgery can be performed to remove benign and cancerous chest wall tumors.
Benefits of robotic thoracic surgery
There are many benefits to robotic surgery compared to open surgery. Because robotic procedures only require a few tiny incisions, they yield shorter hospital stays, decreased pain and quicker recovery times. There is also a reduced risk of infection and less blood loss during surgery. Additionally, robotic procedures allow surgery to be an option for patients who might not be able to undergo an open procedure.