Yesterday a surgical team at Orange Park Medical Center, led by cardiothoracic surgeon Nathan Bates, M.D., became the first in North Florida and South Georgia to perform a procedure called a lung lobectomy with robotic assistance. A lobectomy is a surgical procedure done to remove part of a patient’s lung because of lung cancer.
Robot-assisted surgery is not new, however, using the robot for thoracic (chest) surgery is a relatively new surgical advancement for the treatment of lung cancer. The traditional surgery to open the chest and remove all or part of a lung, is called a thoracotomy. To perform this procedure, the surgeon makes a large incision in the patient’s chest to access the lungs. Since muscles of the chest wall are cut, patients usually experience significant post-operative pain and a long recovery.
Dr. Bates made three small incisions, about 8 millimeters long, in the side of the patient’s chest to insert the robotic-controlled tools he used to operate and a tiny high-definition camera that allowed him to see inside the patient’s chest.