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Innovations (Phila). 2011 Jul;6(4):237-42. doi: 10.1097/IMI.0b013e31822ca40c.

Early experience with robotic-assisted lung resection.

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Division of General Thoracic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.



Robotic-assisted surgery is not widely accepted for general thoracic surgical procedures, and the technical advantages, cost effectiveness, and patient benefit are in question. Few reports have been published to date regarding clinical experience with this technology. We describe our first consecutive case experience with robotic-assisted lung resection.


A total of 23 robotic-assisted lung resections were performed from December 1, 2008, to September 30, 2010. Patients were selected on the basis of being candidates for a minimally invasive approach to their lung resection, including criteria such as known or suspected early-stage nonsmall-cell lung cancer, no prior thoracotomy, no neoadjuvant therapy, and a body mass index (BMI) less than 40 kg/cm². Data on patient characteristics and perioperative results were collected retrospectively.


Overall 90-day mortality was 0%. The total postoperative complication rate was 39%. Conversion of the robotic-assisted procedure to a video-assisted procedure was necessary in four patients (17%), and to a thoracotomy in one patient (4%). We assessed operative time, chest tube duration, and length of hospital stay. Comparison to published outcomes from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons database demonstrated comparable outcomes to standard approaches.


Robotic-assisted lung resection is safe and feasible, with comparable short-term outcomes to published results from video-assisted or open approaches.

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