Robot-Assisted Thoracic Procedures

Thoracic surgery is done on the chest, but it does not involve surgery on the heart. With robot-assisted thoracic procedures, the doctor guides small robotic arms through keyhole incisions.

  • Call Your Doctor

    After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

    • Cough
      or shortness of breath
    • Coughing up yellow, green, or bloody mucus
    • New chest pain
    • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
    • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from an incision site
    • Pain and/or swelling in your feet, calves, or legs
    • New or worsening symptoms

    If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition

    Thoracic surgery is done on the chest, but it does not involve surgery on the heart. With robot-assisted thoracic procedures, the doctor guides small robotic arms through keyhole incisions.

    Thoracic Surgery
    Laparascopic Thoracic
    Keyhole incisions and specialized equipment are used for a robot-assisted thoracic procedure.
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure

    Robot-assisted thoracic procedures are considered for surgeries that:

    • Require precision
    • Do not require open access

    Some thoracic surgeries that have been successfully performed using robotic techniques include:

    • Thymectomy—removal of the thymus gland
    • Lobectomy—removal of a lung lobe
    • Esophagectomy—removal of the esophagus
    • Mediastinal tumor resection—removal of tumors located in the mediastinum, which is the part of the chest cavity that separates the lungs
    • Sympathectomy—cauterizing a portion of the sympathetic nerve

    Compared to more traditional procedures, robotic-assisted surgery may result in:

    • Less scarring
    • Reduced recovery times
    • Less risk of infection
    • Less blood loss

    • Reduced
      trauma
      to the body
    • Shorter hospital stay
    • Faster recovery

  • Possible Complications

    Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:

    • Bleeding
    • Infection
    • Collection of air or gases in the lung cavity
    • Collapsed lung
    • Need for a prolonged artificial respiration on a breathing machine
    • Damage to nearby organs or structures

    • The need to switch to traditional surgical methods such as
      traditional laparoscopic
      or open surgery
    • Anesthesia-related problems
    • Nerve damage

    Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

    • Increased age
    • Obesity
    • Smoking
    • Diabetes
    • Excessive alcohol intake
    • Use of certain medications

    Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure.