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Leaders in chest surgery, right here in Central Florida

Thoracic surgery can treat conditions affecting the chest, including the heart, lungs and esophagus. At the Rod Taylor Thoracic Care Center at Orlando Health Cancer Institute, our experts provide advanced diagnostics and treatments for a variety of chest conditions, including lung and esophageal cancer, chest tumors and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Why Choose Orlando Health?

Our surgeons are considered leaders in the field of robotic thoracic surgery:

  • In 2007, experts at the Rod Taylor Thoracic Care Center were the first to perform robotic thoracic surgery in Central Florida.
  • As a recognized da Vinci® epicenter for thoracic robotic surgery, surgeons from across the country and around the world come to our center to learn the latest robotic surgery techniques for the treatment of lung cancer, chest tumors and esophageal cancer. 
  • The Orlando Health Cancer Institute is a pioneer in robotic bronchoscopy — being the first facility in Florida to use the Monarch™ Platform and one of the few programs in the country to have the Ion™ Platform robotic technology for diagnosing cancerous lung nodules.

Our doctors are committed to continually improving outcomes for patients who have minimally invasive and robotic thoracic surgery. Our program has been awarded the highest 3-star quality rating from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

Robotic Thoracic Surgeries We Offer

Robotic Lung Cancer Surgery

Surgery for lung cancer most commonly includes removing the diseased lung tissue (lobectomy). A robotic lobectomy allows the surgeon to perform lung cancer surgery using a less invasive technique than conventional open surgery. Surgeons perform traditional surgery through a large incision in the chest. Robotic surgery uses smaller incisions, which typically results in fewer complications, less pain, and a faster hospital discharge and overall recovery.

During a robotic lobectomy, your surgeon removes the entire affected lobe of your lung. Certain patients can preserve more lung function through a procedure called a robotic wedge resection. During this procedure, a surgeon removes a small, wedge-shaped portion of the lung, including the tumor and a certain amount of healthy tissue around it, instead of the entire lobe.

Most patients with early-stage or localized (cancer that has not spread) lung cancer are candidates for robotic surgery as long as they have good lung and heart function and are cleared to undergo surgery. Patients with more advanced-stage lung cancer may be eligible for surgery following a complete evaluation by our team.

The hospital stay following robotic lung surgery is typically two to four days, with a return to normal activity in three to four weeks. By comparison, conventional open lung surgery typically requires a hospital stay of five to seven days and a recovery period of six to eight weeks.   

Robotic Lymph Node Dissection

To diagnose lung cancer, our doctors can perform a robotic lymph node dissection. This procedure surgically removes lymph nodes around the lung and mediastinum (space between the lungs) to evaluate whether the cancer has spread beyond the lungs. Our surgeons will also perform robotic biopsies (removal of a piece of tissue) of suspicious lung nodules to assess whether they are cancerous or benign (noncancerous).

Robotic Surgery of Mediastinal or Chest Tumors

The mediastinum is a relatively narrow compartment (space) located between the lungs. Robotic mediastinal surgery removes masses from this area. These masses can be thymic tumors, benign (noncancerous) cysts, thymus gland tumors called thymomas, or other growths or lesions. Our doctors also perform chest wall resection surgery to remove cancerous and noncancerous chest wall tumors.

During both of these robotic procedures, a surgeon makes several small incisions in the chest to access the masses. This approach is much less invasive than traditional open surgery, where surgeons make one large, central incision.

Recovery from a robotic chest or mediastinal surgery generally takes three to four weeks compared to six to eight weeks for conventional open surgery.

Robotic Thymus Gland Surgery

Some patients with myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune neuromuscular disease, can benefit from robotic surgery to remove the thymus gland. This robotic thymus gland surgery is called a thymectomy. During a robotic thymectomy, a surgeon makes small incisions to remove the thymus gland, which typically results in fewer complications, less pain, and a faster hospital discharge and overall recovery. Our highly skilled surgeons prefer this method over traditional, open surgery.

During a traditional, open sternotomy procedure, a surgeon makes a vertical incision along the sternum (breastbone). The sternum itself is then divided or “cracked.” Studies of robotic thymectomies show fewer complications compared to conventional open sternotomy surgery.

Robotic thymus gland surgery typically requires a hospital stay of one to two days. Most patients are discharged home, with a full return to normal activities within two to four weeks.

Robotic Esophageal Surgery

Doctors perform robotic esophageal surgery to treat several conditions, including esophageal cancer, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), hiatal hernia, and achalasia and esophageal diverticulum (conditions that interfere with food passing into the stomach).

Robotic esophagectomy (removal of all or part of the esophagus) allows doctors to perform this complex surgery with smaller incisions and less pain, often with faster recovery times and less risk for pulmonary (lung) complications, such as pneumonia.

Recovery depends on the extent of surgery performed. Patients can stay one day in the hospital for benign (noncancerous) esophageal surgery or several days for esophagectomy for cancer. Full recovery takes three to eight weeks, with a longer recovery for esophageal cancer patients.

Robotic Bronchoscopy

The Orlando Health Cancer Institute is a pioneer in robotic bronchoscopy — being the first facility in Florida to use the Monarch™ Platform and one of the few programs in the country to also have the Ion™ Platform robotic technology for diagnosing cancerous lung nodules.

Robotic bronchoscopy uses a flexible, robotic endoscope (a thin tube with light and camera attached) to enter the lungs through the mouth. This procedure allows our cancer specialists to diagnose small, hard-to-reach nodules located around the edges of the lungs with greater precision than ever before. During this procedure, one of our surgeons controls the robotic arm, which uses a CT scan for guidance in navigating to the nodule(s) and taking a tissue sample to be analyzed in the lab.

This robotic technology offers many advantages over traditional needle biopsies, including:

  • Access to difficult to reach nodules
  • Faster and more accurate diagnosis
  • Faster recovery time
  • Lower risk of causing a deflated or collapsed lung
  • No injury to the lungs

Other Robotic Procedures

Several other robotic procedures are also available from doctors at the Rod Taylor Thoracic Care Center, including:

  • Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS). This minimally invasive thoracic surgery does not use a traditional thoracotomy (a large incision into the chest wall). Our doctors perform VATs to diagnose and treat pleural diseases (conditions affecting the space surrounding the lungs), which include infection, fluid buildup or cancer.
  • Robotic tracheal (windpipe) procedures. These procedures remove tracheal tumors and treat tracheal stenosis (a condition that causes the windpipe to narrow).
  • Endobronchial ultrasound. This minimally invasive procedure diagnoses lung cancer and enlarged lymph nodes.
  • LINX® Reflux Management SystemThis procedure treats gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), which involves implanting a band of magnetic beads around the lower esophageal sphincter.

When Rowena’s retirement was shaken by a lung cancer diagnosis, she worried her days as a retiree wouldn’t be the adventure she hoped for. Fortunately, Orlando Health Cancer Institute changed everything. Thanks to expert surgery and continued care with our team, Rowena is cancer-free and loving every minute of retirement.

Rowena, Patient
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For more information on lung cancer treatment, visit the Rod Taylor Thoracic Cancer Care Center.