First Robotic Assisted Pneumonectomy in New York Performed at New York Methodist

Advances in Thoracic Surgery

Feb 23, 2011

Brooklyn, NY

Richard Lazzaro, MD, stitching an incision

Richard Lazzaro, MD, chief of thoracic surgery, (right), stitching an incision following the robotic procedure.

Richard Lazzaro, MD, chief of thoracic surgery at New York Methodist Hospital, recently performed the first-ever robotic assisted pulmonary pneumonectomy in New York City. A pneumonectomy is most often used to treat lung cancer when less radical surgery cannot achieve satisfactory results. The procedure involves the removal of the lung that contains the cancerous legion. "Ninety-six percent of pulmonary lobectomy procedures are still performed through open incisions," said Dr. Lazzaro. "Recent studies have shown that lung cancer patients treated with MITS have a better chance at long-term survival than patients who have undergone open surgery."

New York Methodist Hospital's recent acquisition of a robotic surgical system has enabled the Hospital's thoracic surgeons to expand options for minimally invasive thoracic procedures. "New York Methodist is part of an elite group of hospitals that offer minimally invasive thoracic surgery (MITS), said Dr, Lazzaro. "What sets us apart from other hospitals is that approximately ninety percent of our patients are treated using minimally invasive techniques."

The robotic da Vinci® Surgical System offers surgeons both three dimensional visualization of the chest area and more flexible instrumentation. Just as with video assisted thoracic surgery (VATS)-another minimally invasive thoracic procedure offered at NYM-robotic surgery gives the surgeon access to the chest cavity through tiny incisions. Until recently, surgery to remove either part of the lung or the entire lung involved cutting into one side of the chest. However, this procedure would often result in significant acute and chronic pain, as well as a long recovery.

"By dramatically enhancing visualization, precision, control and dexterity, the robot overcomes the limitations of traditional thoracoscopic technology, helping physicians to perform complex surgery in new ways," said Dr. Lazzaro. Because there are only a few small incisions, patients usually realize a number of benefits that include shorter hospital stays, less pain, quicker recoveries, reduced chance of infection, and decreased blood loss.

Dr. Lazzaro performs over 200 minimally invasive thoracic procedures per year. In addition toVATS, he performs a variety of minimally invasive robotic procedures including pulmonary wedge resection, pulmonary lobectomy, Heller myotomy, esophageal surgery, mediastial tumor resection, pleural decortication, Nissen fundoplication, and thymectomy.

For more information on thoracic surgery at NYM, call 718-780-7700.