A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

What to know about robotic chest surgery

Illustration of robotic arms and a surgery room - Robotic surgery in cardiology or heart care

Robotic surgery allows procedures to be done in a minimally-invasive fashion.

With technology comes incredible advancements, and robotic surgery is a great example of progress in the world of health care.

At Marshfield Clinic Health System, the Cardiovascular Services team uses robotic surgery for a variety of procedures, including:

  • Lobectomy: Removal of a lobe of the lung
  • Segmental/wedge resections: Removal of a portion of the lung
  • Mediastinal lymph node biopsies
  • Removal of thymic tumors
  • Biopsy and/or removal of mediastinal masses
  • Esophageal mass resection
  • Minimally-invasive cardiac surgery

Another important feature of robotic surgery is that it is less invasive than traditional open surgery. This means a smaller incision is needed to perform the surgery, which equates to less scarring, faster recovery times, less pain and less bleeding.

How it works

“First robotic trocars are placed in between the ribs through small incisions. These trocars allow instruments to be placed into the chest. The robotic arms are then docked to the trocars, allowing control of the instruments. Then, as the surgeon, I sit at the robotic station, and my fingers control the robotic instruments that are inside my patient,” said Dr. Amanda Eilers, a Marshfield Clinic Health System cardiothoracic surgeon. “I’m able to see with the assistance of a high-definition camera, allowing a precise view of the surgical area.”

Eilers said while many procedures can be performed robotically, there are other procedures and specific situations that need to still be done traditionally (open).

Talking it through with patients

Eilers said because robotic surgery is still relatively new, some patients have concerns about using this method versus traditional open methods.

“It’s a broad spectrum. Some patients do not want robotic surgery and they prefer the open/traditional method. However, most patients prefer smaller incisions/less invasive options if available,” Eilers said. “So I sit down with each patient and talk through what their options are.”

You can learn more about robotic surgery on Marshfield Clinic Health System’s heart care website.

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  1. Avatar May 2, 2019

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