With Sarasota Memorial Thoracic Surgeon Paul Vesco, MD
Welcome to “Ask an Expert,” a Q&A series with Sarasota Memorial’s team of doctors, nurses and other health experts, where you can get thorough answers to your health and wellness queries from a local source you can trust. Have a question that you’d like to “Ask an Expert”? Email it to AskAnExpert@smh.com.
For many diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer, surgical treatment is the first course of action. To learn more about surgery options for treating lung cancer and other thoracic conditions, we asked an expert: Sarasota Memorial thoracic surgeon Paul Vesco, MD. Dr. Vesco answered some the most frequently asked questions we hear, related to lung cancer treatment.
Q: What is “robotic thoracic surgery”?
Thoracic surgery refers to surgical treatment for injuries, diseases and congenital abnormalities in the chest; this includes removing tumors and repairing trauma to the heart, blood vessels, lungs, esophagus and diaphragm.
Robotic thoracic surgery employs the use of robotic “arms,” which are an extension of the surgeon. At Sarasota Memorial, we use the Da Vinci Robot, which enables one surgeon to control four instruments. When it comes to robotic surgery for lung cancer, having the ability to control these instruments in multiple different angles in a very natural fashion allows a surgeon to make very fine movements with precision when removing the cancer.
Q: What are some benefits to robotic surgery for treating lung cancer?
We make the smallest holes in the business! The smaller the holes, the less trauma to the patient and the quicker they will recover. Robotic surgery offers the same cancer outcomes as open surgery, but with a speedier recovery.
Q: How does the Da Vinci Robot improve precision?
The Da Vinci’s camera system integrates two lenses to give “3D” vision to the surgeon. The lens also magnifies the image up to 10 times what you can see with the naked eye, allowing for more detailed work.
Q: Which robotic procedures are available for treating lung cancer?
Any lung cancer should be approached with the idea of removing it robotically. If a surgeon suggests a non-robotic approach to removing a lung cancer, please seek a second opinion at Sarasota Memorial Cancer Institute. We have been involved in robotics and minimally invasive lung surgery since the beginning. We can offer robotic removal and procedures that others will not try.
Q: Robotic lobectomy seems to be one of the most common surgical treatments for early-stage lung cancer. What is it, and who is a good candidate for the procedure?
Lung cancer is best treated in the early stages by removing part of the lung and the surrounding lymph nodes. Again, any person and any procedure in the chest area should be discussed as a minimally invasive (robotic) alternative. Patients will do better with smaller incisions and quicker recovery. There is no difference in long-term cancer outcomes with the robot.
Q: Where should cancer patients or loved ones go for more information on minimally invasive surgery for lung cancer?
Sarasota Memorial Hospital has been rated by U.S. News for the past three years as a top hospital for lung cancer surgery. We have achieved this ranking by having excellent results and using over 90% robotic and minimally invasive approach to treating lung cancer. For more information, call 941-917-8791 or visit smh.com/cancer.
Sarasota Memorial thoracic surgeon Paul Vesco, MD, is board certified in Cardiovascular-Thoracic Surgery. His specialties and practice focus include robotic-assisted thoracic surgery, including minimally invasive surgery for benign or cancerous conditions of the lung, chest and esophagus.