Robotic thoracic surgery is a newer surgical approach which greatly enhances the surgeon's visualization of the operative field, precision, and control compared to the traditional "open" surgery approach. Thoracic surgeons are using the robotic system for lung cancer and esophageal surgeries.
In the traditional surgical approach, thoracic surgeons make a large chest incision and spread or cut the ribs to access the thoracic cavity to perform the surgery. With robotic thoracic surgery, the surgeon makes small 1 cm incisions in the same rib space to perform a thoracic surgery, for example a lobectomy (lung lobe removal), without spreading or cutting the breastbone or ribs, thereby minimizing blood loss, pain and scarring, faster recovery, shorter hospital stays, and reduced pain.
Esophagectomy is a procedure to remove some or all of the esophagus. Robotic assistance allows the surgeon to conduct the operation minimally invasively: the instruments are inserted into the body through a number of small incisions, rather than a single large one.