ABC6: Robotics changing how lung surgery is performed
Receiving a cancer diagnosis is scary for anyone. For Susan Frecker, a retired nurse, it was no different. She visited her family physician for an unrelated test, received a lung cancer diagnosis and prepared for the worst.
Lung cancer often involves a significant operation to remove the tumor and its associated lung. Now, robotic surgery, which is commonly used in cancers like prostate, is being used in lung cancer patients. This state-of-the-art approach is reducing complications and lowering costs for patients.
Vincent Daniel, MD, thoracic surgeon with OhioHealth Heart, Lung & Vascular Surgeons at OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, is one of the only doctors in central Ohio routinely performing this surgery on lung cancer patients.
“With robotic technology, we are able to go in between the rib spaces with very small instruments, many of which measure less than one inch in size,” Dr. Daniel told ABC6 reporter Terri Sullivan, “and actually remove the entire lung cancer as well as the associated surrounding lung and lymph node using this technique.”
The procedure is more cost-effective than traditional lung cancer surgery because it has a shorter hospital recovery time. Frecker said she had her surgery on a Tuesday evening and was home by Friday morning. In addition to a shorter hospital stay, she only needed over-the-counter medications to treat her pain.
Dr. Daniel said this new approach does not take away from the fact that it is still a major procedure, and there will be pain associated with the recovery.
“But when you see [the patients] two weeks later at follow up and really how much of their life they have been able to recover and are really assuming in terms of their activity, return to work, things like that,” Dr. Daniel said. “They’re very grateful and very happy with what this new technology has really provided them.”