Human chest or thorax contains a variety of important organs like the heart and its large vessels, the lungs, the oesophagus and the thymus gland. With the exception of heart, surgical diseases of the rest of the organs are an object of thoracic surgical oncology. For many years these procedures were performed with open techniques, until the last decade, when robotic and thoracoscopic procedures became a part of daily surgical practice.
Thoracoscopic surgery, which is an extension and application of laparoscopic techniques, finds application in intrathoracic organs and offers unique advantages to the patient, being able to minimize radically the surgical trauma. Robotics finds also a great application at those cases. As a direct result, post-operative pain is much smaller and the patient is able to recover and return to his daily activity much faster.
Reduced hospital stay and faster return to work minimizes the cost of treatment. It is easily understood, but also very important that the aesthetic result is excellent, in fact without post-operative scars. During the procedure, the camera that is used magnifies the surgical field 15 times, allowing the complete accuracy in manoeuvres, achieving less possible tissue injury and bleeding. This offers even more benefits to the patient, by minimizing the possibility of complications related to the surgical wound, involving healing and infectious problems that are quite often seen in open procedures. Furthermore, there is a great reduction of cardiovascular and pulmonary complications because of the rapid mobilisation of the patient, achieving finally an absolute application of the principals of minimally invasive surgery in the field of thoracic diseases, which can be more easily achieved with the use of surgical robotic system.
Applications of thoracoscopic surgery
With thoracoscopic and basically robotic surgery we treat every disease of the esophagus, offering excellent results in a category of diseases that until recently were considered very difficult and traumatic to be approached. It is also possible to treat most of the early metastatic and primary pulmonary malignancies. It is also method of choice for the treatment of pneumothorax but also for the whole range of benign pulmonary diseases. Also, the contribution of these methods for the exact staging of malignancies is critical, allowing us to avoid major and useless surgical procedures.
As a conclusion, including the whole range of thoracic surgical procedures, we could say that thoracoscopic and robotic surgery are able to replace the greatest portion of the conventional-open surgery, offering the patients a much more friendly and painless treatment, representing the present and not the far future of thoracic surgical oncology.