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Complete robotic-assisted lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) to remove emphysematous tissue was successfully performed at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The robotic procedure allows the surgeon to precisely remove the diseased portions of the lungs.
During the robotic LVRS, a surgeon with specialized training in robotic surgery sits at the computer console and looks through the stereoscopic, high-definition (HD) monitor to see inside the patient, giving the surgeon a better, more detailed 3D view of the operating area than the human eye can offer. The tower, which is positioned directly over the patient during surgery, contains the robot’s four arms — three that can hold a multitude of different surgical instruments, and a fourth that holds the system’s 3D cameras. These arms are controlled by a computer that exactly replicates the movements of the operating surgeon. Using the master controls, the surgeon maneuvers the arms of the robotic device to make three small incisions on the right side of the chest accessing the lungs and removing the diseased tissue.
Dr. Ankit Bharat became the first U.S. thoracic surgeon to complete a robotic-assisted lung volume reduction surgery for a patient with severe emphysema. Courtesy of Northwestern Medicine.
Unlike the traditional surgical approach that uses a larger chest incision to access the lungs, the robotic LVRS only requires three 8-mm incisions. The smaller incisions reduce scarring and minimize the risk for infection, while also potentially reducing the length of stay in the hospital. “Robotic-assisted technology is revolutionizing the way patients are treated for chronic lung diseases,” said Ankit Bharat, M.D.