Physicians at John Muir Health Medical Center, Concord, First in East Bay to Perform Robot-Assisted Lobectomy

Minimally-invasive, thoracic surgery technique for lung cancer treatment can decrease post-operative pain and recovery time for patients.

Concord, Calif. (August 17, 2015) – The thoracic surgery team at John Muir Health’s Concord medical center recently became the first in the East Bay to successfully use a robotic-assisted device in a lobectomy procedure and currently have successfully completed more than a dozen of these procedures.

In a traditional chest cavity surgery, surgeons must cut between the ribs, or even spread the ribs, in order to access the lung, leaving patients with a large incision on the side of the chest. This results in longer, more painful post-operative recovery. Conversely, with the minimally invasive approach using the da Vinci® surgical system, incisions are only 0.5 to 1 centimeter in length resulting in decreased pain levels and a shorter recover time for patients.

“Our achievement is a significant development in expanding the role of robotic surgical platforms for minimally-invasive surgeries,” Dr. Wilson Tsai, Co-Medical Director of the thoracic program at John Muir Health. “Surgical applications with advanced robotics expand treatment options and offer outcomes comparable to other minimally invasive approaches, especially for patients with more complex cases.”

Recent studies show that robot-assisted lung surgery can deliver equal or better results compared to open chest cavity surgery. One study, Adams, et al, published in the April edition of The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, concluded that robotic-assisted thoracoscopic surgery was safe and effective in various settings by delivering outcomes better than open thoracotomy and equal to video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS). The results included two to four less days spent in the hospital, fewer blood transfusions, shorter usage of a chest tube by at least one day, and fewer air leaks lasting more than five days.

“We're committed to providing state-of-the-art treatment options for our patients,” says Tsai. “Patients appreciate the shorter recovery time offered by this procedure that allows them to go home and get back to their normal lives quicker.”

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