Beth Israel thoracic surgeons are at the forefront of robot-assisted surgery, which offers patients and surgeons many important benefits. Our division’s commitment to this advanced surgical approach is robust—including special training, credentialing, mentoring of other surgeons, research, and assessment of outcomes.
Robotic surgery takes minimally invasive surgical techniques to the next level. Robotic “arms” controlled by the surgeon, place a camera and surgical instruments into the body that are unsurpassed in their flexibility. At the same time, the technology offers surgeons unparalleled viewing, thanks to inputs from different imaging sources and an additional high-definition 3-D camera.
Importantly, robotics offers special advantages to thoracic surgeons, who operate in the limited space enclosed by the rib cage. Highly flexible instruments let surgeons get into tighter angles and smaller spaces within the chest cavity, operating with more freedom than ever before possible inside the chest – all without needing a large incision. Robotic surgery is ideal for areas that need a high degree of magnification and precision. It also permits smaller incisions (cuts) to gain access to the inside of the chest, a shorter recovery period, less scarring, and less pain than making an incision into the chest wall (thoracotomy) or cutting through the sternum or breastbone (sternotomy).
When using robotic surgical technology, a team approach is critical. Our patients benefit from the close working relationship between our thoracic robotic surgeons and our radiation oncologist. Designated operating room nurses who receive special training in robotic-assisted surgery, work closely with surgeons. Their concentration in this area, and the extraordinary teamwork that results from intense training of both surgeons and nurses, improve results for our patients.
Beth Israel thoracic surgeons have helped pioneer techniques using robotic surgery. We were first to use robot-assisted surgery to perform a thymectomy for myasthenia gravis; implant brachytherapy in high-risk lung cancer patients; and perform intrathoracic nerve graft reconstruction.
Today, Beth Israel’s thoracic surgeons are at the leading edge of this exciting technology, publishing and presenting in prestigious venues from regional to international; and conducting research in the efficacy of robotics for specific procedures. Our surgeons are teaching other institutions how to start a robotics program; and they are actively mentoring other surgeons in the use of this game-changing surgical approach.
Over time, we are finding that an even greater percentage of complex procedures can be performed using robotic-assisted surgery, with many advantages for patients.