Nationally Recognized

Among the top in cancer research and care. The only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Mountain West.


Cancer Care

Top 1% in patient satisfaction

Robotic thoracic surgery is a cutting-edge method of operating on patients with lung, esophagus, and chest tumors or conditions. A specially trained surgeon controls a machine called the Intuitive da Vinci® Surgical System. The machine has very small instruments that mimic the surgeon’s hands precisely.

Huntsman Cancer Institute is the only hospital offering chest operations with this technology in Utah and the entire Mountain West Region.

About Robotic Thoracic Surgery

While video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) is a newer method of operating on patients with cancers in the chest, robotic thoracic surgery is even more advanced.

Robotic thoracic surgery and VATS are both minimally invasive procedures. This means the surgeon makes a few small incisions instead of one large cut. In the United States, most thoracic surgeries are still performed with this larger incision. A long, thin tube called a thoracoscope is put into one of the small cuts. The tube has a tiny camera that shows images on a monitor so the surgeon can see inside the patient. Surgery instruments remove the tumor through the other small cuts.

Robotic thoracic surgery is different than VATS because it allows the surgeon to use very fine instruments. The robotic instruments mimic the surgeon’s hands precisely, but they are much smaller. This allows the surgeon to do the following:

  • Make even smaller incisions (12 millimeters compared to 40 millimeters with VATS)
  • See more clearly inside the patient
  • Reduce the risk of needing to complete the operation with a long, open incision
  • Get better tissue samples for staging, prognosis, and treatment planning

Benefits of Robotic Thoracic Surgery

Robotic Thoracic Surgery is performed using the Intuitive da Vinci® Surgical System

Patients benefit from robotic thoracic surgery in these ways:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Shorter recovery times
  • Less pain
  • A lower chance of complications

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